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Facebook’s “Oversight Board,” the ultimate ruler on what conversations get censored, is ready

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Facebook and Instagram users can now appeal moderation cases to a third-party reviewer, Oversight Board – the new authority that has the final say on what people are allowed to talk about with their friends and family.

We originally reported that the Oversight Board was coming during the summer of 2019 and now that it is fully fleshed out, the Board is ready to start accepting reports.

Today, Oversight Board announced that it would be allowing Instagram and Facebook users to submit appeals of Facebook’s content moderation decisions for their bans and conversation removals.

The supposedly “independent” review board also said that Facebook could refer content moderation cases to them. The board will also give social media users a chance to report content they would like to see removed.

The Oversight Board consists of independent members from all around the globe who will make binding decisions on Facebook and Instagram moderation cases.

“Decisions made by the Board will be independent and binding upon Facebook,” the press release by the company reads.

“Human rights and freedom of expression will be at the core of every decision we make,” said the Co-Chair of the Oversight Board, Botero-Marino. “These cases will have far-reaching, real-world consequences. It is our job to ensure we are serving users and holding Facebook accountable.”

The organization claims that its decisions will respect the right to freedom of expression and respect human rights, yet it’s hard to see how a group that supports freedom of expression and human rights would create a Board to decide what people are allowed to talk about with family and friends.

The organization will also consider Facebook’s Community Standards when making decisions and recommend improvements to these standards.

Users can submit “eligible” cases for review via Oversight Board’s official website. The organization will prioritize “content that could lead to urgent, real-world consequences.”

“The Board is eager to get to work,” said Botero-Marino. “We won’t be able to hear every appeal, but want our decisions to have the widest possible value, and will be prioritizing cases that have the potential to impact many users around the world, are of critical importance to public discourse, and raise questions about Facebook’s policies.”

Once a case is picked, it will be assigned to a panel consisting of five members, including “at least one member from the region implicated in the content.”

Once the Oversight Board arrives at a decision on a case, it expects Facebook to act within 90 days, which is a pretty long time considering how something that’s censored for 90 days will long have lost impact after several months.

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