Facebook users can now appeal censorship decisions to oversight board

Appeals will be made to the platform's independent, global oversight board

Facebook users will be able to appeal the social media platform's censorship of some posts to its new oversight board within the next few weeks.

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The new appeals process comes at the same time Facebook is cracking down on conspiracy theory groups such as QAnon amid pressure from politicians and large corporations alike to prevent hate speech on the platform.

"Over the next few weeks, our nearly 3 billion users will have access to an independent review of difficult content decisions," the company said in a Thursday blog post.

The company describes the board as "a global body of experts separate from Facebook that will make independent and binding decisions on the cases they choose to hear."

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The Menlo Park, California-based company "has committed to enforcing the board’s decisions on individual pieces of content, and to carefully considering and transparently responding to any policy recommendations," the post reads. "The board will make decisions on which cases to take, selecting from both cases appealed by users and cases referred by Facebook."

The panel will be able to make decisions within 90 days after Facebook removes a post.

Facebook Oversight Board case timelines (Facebook)

Facebook came under fire last week after it decided to reduce the distribution of a New York Post article showing purported communication between 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, and an adviser to Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings LLC.

A spokesperson for the company said in an Oct. 14 tweet that Facebook made the decision to restrict the article while independent fact-checkers review its contents. There have been no updates so far.

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Facebook told FOX Business that the New York Post could not appeal the company's decision to reduce the distribution of its article since the article was not completely removed from the platform.

"As of today, users can only refer content that has been taken down to the board," Facebook spokeswoman Ruchika Budhraja said in a statement. "Since we did not remove content that linked to the NY Post article, users wouldn’t be able to appeal that decision."

She added that Facebook's goal "is to bring into scope all types of content outlined in the bylaws, including content left up."

Social media regulation of content "is out of control," President Trump, who's running against Biden, told FOX Business' "Varney & Co." in an Oct. 15 interview regarding Facebook's and Twitter's decisions on the article. "And it’s like a third arm, maybe a first arm, of the DNC — Twitter, and Facebook, they’re all, they’re — like really, it’s a massive campaign contribution."

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
FBFACEBOOK INC.274.68+6.25+2.33%
TWTRTWITTER INC.45.19+0.22+0.49%

A number of Republican legislators have voiced concerns about being censored on Facebook and other platforms such as Twitter and Google.

Facebook maintains that it does not suppress certain news outlets or conservative users over others. The website's founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, said in a 2019 interview with FOX News' "The Daily Briefing" that he thinks conservative outlets perform "quite well" on the platform.

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"California is an overwhelmingly left-leaning place. If you look at the political donations from the tech companies, it’s 90-plus percent of them go towards Democratic candidates, so I understand why people would ask the question of 'are my ideas getting a fair shake?'" Zuckerberg said at the time. "And all that I can say on this is this is something I care deeply about. I want to make sure we can be a platform for all ideas."

The company has also received pressure from the left and a number of civil rights groups to do a better job blocking posts that spread hate and discrimination.

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