In the previous week, the decision of the restoration of social media accounts of former US President Donald Trump was delayed by the Facebook Oversight Board. Trump had faced an indefinite ban from social media sites in January.
Thus on Friday, the Oversight Board said, “The Board will announce its decision on the case concerning former US President Trump’s indefinite suspension from Facebook and Instagram in the coming weeks. We extended the public comments deadline for this case, receiving 9,000+ responses”. The decision which was originally due by 21 Apri
Why was Donald Trump suspended off social media?
After the gruesome incident where the angry mob of armed supporters stormed the Capitol Hill in Washington DC, Trump was blocked by Facebook from all its platforms at least the end of his term, which concluded on January 20.
In a Facebook post, Mark Zuckerberg, the tech giant’s CEO, said on January 7 that “we believe the risks of allowing the president to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely…”.
Trump has also been suspended on YouTube, but chief executive Susan Wojcicki has said they may lift the ban when the threat of "real-world violence" decreases. Further, he is permanently banned on Twitter.
According to CrowdTangle, some of the top popular Facebook posts in the USA belonged to Mr. Trump.
What is Facebook’s Oversight Board?
In 2018, The Oversight Board was proposed by Facebook to essentially take a call on “what to take down, what to leave up – and why”. Thus the motive of the body is to “promote free expression by making principled, independent decisions regarding content on Facebook and Instagram”.
In simpler words, the board makes decisions about the kind of content that should be published or taken down from Facebook and Instagram “based on respect for freedom of expression & human rights.”
Known as "Facebook's Supreme Court", the committee functions as an independent entity that includes academicians and experts from different fields such as law, digital rights, and technology.
How does it work?
In 2020, this board was established as a way to allow users to appeal to the board and provide them a chance to be critical of the content on Facebook and Instagram. Thus, if a user has requested a review of any content decision, and is not satisfied with either Facebook or Instagram’s final stance, he or she can write an appeal to the board. However, this does not imply that the board will oversee all the appeals. The cases will be selected based on their global relevance, significance, and potential to inform future policy.
According to BBC, The group has already ruled on nine cases including:
- a comment that seemed derogatory to Muslims - in a post from a user in Myanmar, removed for breaking hate-speech rules - was found not to be Islamophobic, when taken in context
- an alleged quote from Joseph Goebbels - in an old post reshared by a US user, removed for violating policies on dangerous individuals and organizations - did not support Nazi ideology, again when taken in context
- a video about Covid-19 "cures" - referred to the board by Facebook - was a comment about French government health policy and would not lead people to self-medicate
- an Instagram post of eight photographs of breast-cancer symptoms should not have been removed - by Facebook's automated moderation system, only to be restored before the board's decision - for breaking adult nudity rules