Tech

REPORT: Oversight Board For Facebook Reverses Censorship After Allegedly Labeling Content ‘Hate Speech’ And ‘Misinformation’

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Reporter
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Facebook’s new oversight board issued its first opinions Thursday, ruling against the company in four out of the five cases it heard.

Two of the cases involved Facebook’s hate speech policy, one concerned adult nudity, one involved allegedly quoting “dangerous figures” and another concerned alleged incitement of violence, according to the board’s announcement of the rulings. One of the hate speech cases was the only censorship decision Facebook made that was reviewed and accepted by the board, according to the same announcement.

The board will later rule on Facebook’s decision to indefinitely suspend President Donald Trump from the social network.

“We believe that the board included some important suggestions that we will take to heart. Their recommendations will have a lasting impact on how we structure our policies,” Vice President of Content Policy Monika Bickert stated in a formal response to the ruling.

But these first rulings came under fire from a group calling itself the “Real Facebook Oversight Group.” It claims that “the platform [Facebook] is being used to suppress African-American, Black and Latinx votes.” (RELATED: Former Clinton Aide Kickstarts Ad Crusade Against Facebook’s Oversight Board, Calls For Conservative Member’s Ouster)

The oversight board first began hearing cases in October 2020, according to its website. Its stated goal ismaking principled, independent decisions regarding content on Facebook and Instagram” and subsequent recommendations. The full board will eventually include 40 members from around the world who have the power to overturn Facebook’s moderation decisions, according to company statements.

Democrats accused Facebook of allowing Russian bots to promote content favoring former Trump during the 2016 election campaign, while Republicans threatened investigations into the company for perceived moderation bias against conservatives.

During the 2020 election cycle, Facebook prevented users from sharing a New York Post article about Hunter Biden’s business deals with China. CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced a congressional subpoena for that move.