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Facebook’s Oversight Board now allows users to appeal to have content removed

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The world is still waiting on what will undoubtedly be the biggest decision from Facebook’s new Oversight Board: Whether former President Donald Trump will be permanently banned from the social network.

However, even with the weight of such a big decision resting on their shoulders, the Oversight Board has apparently decided it’s not busy enough.

Starting on April 13, the Oversight Board will accept appeals from users who are looking to have content removed from Facebook. The announcement was made earlier today on the Oversight Board’s website.

The Oversight Board is an independent panel that reviews content moderation decisions made by Facebook. Up until now, users could appeal to the Oversight Board when their content had been removed and they had exhausted all avenues of appeal with the company.

The process for content which a user would like removed will be much like the process for content which a user would like reinstated on the platform. There is a difference, though. 

After a user reports content to Facebook, there will be options to appeal the company’s decision. After the final appeal within Facebook is exhausted, a user will receive an Oversight Board Reference ID, which they can cite if they do appeal to the Oversight Board. The Oversight Board will then consider whether to take on the case and analyze whether the content at hand “violates Facebook’s Community Standards and values and international human rights standards.”

Unlike the appeals process for reinstating posts, which would be appealed by a single individual who posted the removed content, multiple users could appeal to the Oversight Board about a piece of content currently available publicly on Facebook. If that happens, multiple user reports will be combined into a single case for the Oversight Board.

The Oversight Board says that in these cases appealing to remove content, no identifying information about the individuals who reported the content will be revealed in the details of their decision unless they were explicitly given permission to do so.

Facebook first broke news about of the board in 2018. By mid-2020, the company announced the board’s appointees, which members from across the ideological spectrum. The Oversight Board shared the first cases it would take by the end of the year and revealed its decisions for said cases in January 2021.

After Facebook banned Trump from the platform earlier this year, the social media giant decided to on this decision to the Oversight Board. The decision on Trump is still pending.

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