Meta's Oversight Board Hears First 'Threads' Case

In determining how Threads will deal with the concept of freedom of speech, Meta’s Oversight Board is now expanding its duties as it begins overseeing cases for the tech giant’s newest app.

As reported by TechCrunch, the Board has begun hearing its first Threads case, which deals with statements about the Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida.

This specific case involves a Threads user responding to a news story about Kishida’s supposed unreported fund-raising revenues with hashtags including harmful remarks such as, “drop dead” as well as “derogatory language for a person that wears spectacles.”

A human reviewer at Meta has determined that the content violated the platform’s Violence and Incitement rule as it prohibits calls for death.



The appeal was denied twice, prompting the user to appeal to the Board, which has selected the case to examine the company’s content moderation policies and enforcement practices on political content shared on Threads. 

“This is particularly important, in the context of Meta’s decision not to proactively recommend political content on Threads,” the Board noted in its case announcement.

“As part of its decisions, the Board can issue policy recommendations to Meta,” the Board added. “While recommendations are not binding, Meta must respond to them within 60 days. As such, the Board welcomes public comments proposing recommendations that are relevant to this case.”

Tomorrow, the Board plans on announcing more cases it is examining on Threads, which focus on criminal allegations based on nationality. The Kishida case and those that follow will help define how Threads, which arose as an Instagram-adjacent alternative to Elon Musk’s X app, moderates content and freedom of speech regarding all kinds of issues.

As competitors, X, Threads, Bluesky and Mastodon –– two decentralized microblogging apps –– all utilize differing strategies for content moderation. While Threads is relying on and internal team as well as Meta’s Oversight Board, which has the power to overrule the company and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, X continues to build out its Community Notes offering, which puts the power to moderate largely in its users' hands.

Whereas decentralized platforms, Bluesky and Mastodon, are working on allowing users involved in different servers to set their own guidelines and rules about what can be said and done.

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