From hate speech to nudity, Fb’s oversight board picks its first instances

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Facebook logos

By Elizabeth Culliford

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc. The independent oversight board of (NASDAQ 🙂 announced Tuesday the first six cases in which it could override the social media company’s decision to remove certain content from its platforms.

The board, which Facebook created in response to criticism of its handling of problematic content, said it has received 20,000 cases since it opened in October.

The six selected cases are:

A screenshot of tweets from former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad saying that Muslims have the right to use violence against the French people “because of the massacres of the past”.

A post with a photo of a deceased child that contained a comment on the treatment of Uighur Muslims in China.

A post allegedly showing historical photos of churches in Baku, Azerbaijan, with a headline that Facebook labeled “contempt” for Azerbaijanis and support for Armenia.

Instagram photos show female nipples that the user in Brazil said were aimed at raising awareness of breast cancer symptoms.

An alleged quote from the Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.

The only selected case submitted by Facebook rather than by a user was a post in a group claiming certain drugs could cure COVID-19, criticizing the French government’s response to the pandemic.

The Board has opened a one-week public comment period on these initial cases. The cases are examined by bodies made up of five board members.

Three of the six cases concerned content that Facebook removed for violating the rules on hate speech. An Oversight Board spokesman said hate speech was “the largest proportion” of complaints received.

“Hate speech is a particularly difficult area,” Jamal Greene, a co-chair of the board and professor at Columbia Law School, told Reuters in an interview. “It’s not that easy … for an algorithm to determine the context of such a language.”

In November, Facebook first announced numbers on the spread of hate speech on the platform. Out of 10,000 content views in the third quarter, 10 to 11 contained hate speech.

Greene said the cases that also removed content about rules about adult nudity, dangerous people and organizations, and violence and incitement, raised “important questions about drawing lines”. (Link Announcement of the overight-board-s-first-cases-and-appointment-of-trustees for the full list of cases)

Facebook may also ask the board for non-binding policy recommendations, but Greene said it hasn’t done so yet.

The board, which has been criticized for its limited remit, also intends to expand its scope to hear cases from users in early 2021 about content left on the site as well as posts that were taken down.

This week, a group of Facebook critics, titled “The Real Facebook Oversight Board,” announced that three cases that have not yet been approved for the official board of directors, including a dispute over Steve Bannon’s Facebook account, are due to be heard. former President Donald Trump’s advisor.

When asked about this group, a spokeswoman for Facebook’s Oversight Board said, “A lot of people have opinions about Facebook. The Oversight Board focuses on making binding decisions and making policy recommendations that hold Facebook accountable.”

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