Facebook and Instagram oversight board tackles first cases: hate speech, misinformation, nudity

Facebook’s independent appeals court is now in session.

The Facebook Oversight Board has chosen the first six cases it will weigh in on: three involving hate speech, and individual cases involving the topics of nudity, dangerous individuals, and the potential for violence caused by misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic.

The board was created in October to assess the cases of Facebook and Instagram users who argue their content has been wrongly removed from those social media platforms. The six cases were chosen from the more than 20,000 cases it was referred by users and the platforms.

“As the Board cannot hear every appeal, we are prioritizing cases that have the potential to affect lots of users around the world, are of critical importance to public discourse or raise important questions about Facebook’s policies,” the board said in a statement accompanying the announcement Tuesday.

Each case will be assigned to five-member panels (the board has 20 members). Public comment will be taken on the cases until Dec. 8. Within 90 days, the board expects to have decided on the case and Facebook to have implemented its decisions.

The oversight board arose from Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s idea to have another check on the social networks’ moderation processes.

A closer look at Facebook appeals

The COVID-19 misinformation case involved the removal of a video and comments criticizing the French health strategy of “purportedly refusing authorization for use of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin against COVID-19, but authorizing promotional mail for remdesivir” from a Facebook group related to the pandemic.