• Nancy Miller


In an effort to assist the company in making decisions regarding freedom of expression and online safety, Facebook has created an independent oversight board. The board’s purpose is to make independent decisions regarding Facebook and Instagram content and to issue recommendations on content policies.

The board is made up of people from around the world with a variety of backgrounds. The board began hearing cases in December. The initial five cases involved the removal of posts regarding nudity, hate speech, and misinformation. One of the posts regarding hate speech was deemed to meet Facebook’s definition of unacceptable content and the decision was upheld. The other four decisions were overturned. The oversight board makes its rulings based on whether individual posts violate Facebook’s published terms. The board can also point out the need for clarification of the policy as they did with the case regarding health-related misinformation.

Just yesterday, (February 8, 2021) Facebook stated that it is planning to begin removing posts regarding vaccinations that include information that is not in line with the World Health Organization. Previously, Facebook had refused to allow ads with false or misleading information regarding vaccines and would push lower into people’s news feeds misleading and false claims about vaccines; now all posts, pages and groups with false information will be removed. This policy is regarding all vaccines, not just the Covid-19 vaccinations. This policy change is a result of Facebook’s new Oversight Board ruling that Facebook’s previous policy regarding health-related misinformation was “inappropriately vague”.

The Oversight Board’s website includes information on the structure and purpose of the board; descriptions of the cases heard and the decisions made; and information on how to appeal a decision made by Facebook or Instagram.

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