Facebook's new independent “oversight board,” which is tasked with evaluating the company's content moderation decisions, has selected its first six cases for review.
Three of the matters deal with posts that were removed for alleged violations of Facebook's policies against “hate speech,” while two others involve posts that allegedly ran afoul of the company's policies regarding nudity, “dangerous individuals and organizations,” and “violence and incitement.”
The board, which received 20,000 complaints by users since last month, stated Tuesday that it is giving priority to matters that “have the potential to affect lots of users around the world, are of critical importance to public discourse or raise important questions about Facebook's policies.”
The board provided a brief description of the posts under review, and is inviting public comment on them.
Based on the summaries, the posts raise thorny questions about how Facebook decides to balance its editorial standards with free speech values.
For example, the post that was removed for supposedly violating Facebook's policies on dangerous individuals and organizations included a quote attributed (apparently wrongly) to Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, about “the need to appeal to emotions and instincts, instead of intellect and on the unimportance of truth,” according to the board's written summary.
“The user indicated in their appeal to the Oversight Board that the quote is important as the user considers the current US presidency to be following a fascist model,” the organization wrote.
“The Facebook Oversight Board is a toothless body, with too many loopholes to address the massive harms on the site,” founding member Roger McNamee stated.
The group's first case will address Facebook's decision to allow former White House strategist Steve Bannon to remain on the platform, despite suggesting in a video post that Dr. Anthony Fauci should be beheaded.