Facebook review board overturns four content removal decisions


© Olivier DOULIERY
Facebook’s “supreme court” reversed four cases of content removal from that platform

Facebook’s “high court” issued its first rulings on Thursday, reversing four of five long-ago decisions to remove content from the platform.

This initial batch of rulings does not include the indefinite suspension of Donald Trump from Facebook and Instagram after the assault on Congress in the United States, but the board said last week that it agreed to consider that case.

The four reversed decisions include a post that claimed France lacked a health care strategy and included claims that there is a cure for Covid-19.

This post had been removed because it contributed to “a risk of imminent physical harm.”

But the review board said Facebook’s rule on misinformation and imminent harm was “unduly vague.”

Another of the revoked rulings concerns an Instagram user in Brazil who had posted photos of women’s nipples as part of a message to raise awareness about breast cancer.

The board ruled that photos should be allowed in light of Facebook’s exception policy for breast cancer awareness.

The removal of a post condemning the treatment of Uighur Muslims in China was also overturned.

“The deliberations revealed the enormous complexity of the problems dealt with,” said the “court” of the social network.

In several of the cases, the board members wondered if Facebook’s rules were clear enough for users to understand.

The board said that since it began accepting cases in October last year, it has received more than 150,000 lawsuits.

“Since we cannot handle all appeals, we prioritize those that have the potential to affect many users around the world, are critically important to public discourse or raise important questions about Facebook policies,” he said.

Facebook’s oversight board is tasked with making final decisions on appeals regarding what is removed or allowed to remain on the largest social network on the planet.

Consider cases involving Nazi propaganda, hate speech, nudity, misinformation about the pandemic, and dangerous people or organizations.

The panel was created late last year at the behest of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg amid growing concerns about misinformation and manipulation surrounding the US presidential election.

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