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Facebook Oversight Board expands to allow appeals over content still on platform

Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent
·2-min read

Facebook’s Oversight Board is to begin accepting appeals from Facebook and Instagram users about other people’s content which has been allowed to remain on the platform.

The board, which was set up last year, is able to make binding decisions about Facebook’s content removal actions, even overruling the platform and executives.

Since its launch, it has allowed users to appeal to the board about their own content being removed, but it is now expanding its capacity so people can also appeal over content posted by others that has been allowed to remain on either platform.

The board said the move is an important step towards delivering a more principled and transparent model of content moderation.

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Oversight Board administration director Thomas Hughes said: “Enabling users to appeal content they want to see removed from Facebook is a significant expansion of the Oversight Board’s capabilities.

“The board was created to ensure that fewer decisions about highly significant content issues be taken by Facebook alone, and that better decisions can be delivered through an independent and transparent process that works to safeguard human rights and freedom of expression.

“Today’s announcement is another step towards realising this.”

Last month, former Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger, a member of the Oversight Board, defended its independence and said it does not exist to “please” the social network.

During an appearance before the House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee, Mr Rusbridger said scuppering Facebook’s economic model is “not our problem”.

In a blog post confirming the expanded capacity for the board, Facebook said it will be rolling out the functionality over the coming weeks.

Vice president of integrity Guy Rosen said: “Today’s announcement represents an expansion of the board’s initial scope.

“As originally contemplated by the Oversight Board’s bylaws, the board can now review Facebook’s decision to leave content on the platform – content eligible for appeal to the board still includes posts/statuses, photos, videos, comments, and shares.”