Facebook’s ‘Supreme Court’ is set to face its first major test

Facebook’s monitoring board will soon make its most fruitful decision: whether Donald Trump’s “indefinite suspension” of Facebook and Instagram should be lifted.

While the verdict will still be the biggest test for the Oversight Board, Facebook’s most ambitious endeavor could still prove that it can control itself. Trump’s decision will probably also shape the public perception of the agency, which has issued fewer than a dozen decisions so far.

But Board of Observation, Widely described as “Facebook’s Supreme Court,” was created to deal with more than just Trump. The Facebook-funded company aims to help social networks navigate the world’s most complex and controversial decisions. This could affect Facebook’s broader policies – if the company allows it.

Facebook’s ‘Supreme Court’

The board itself has only been in operation for less than a year, although the organization has returned to reality . Sheryl Sandberg, a professor at Harvard and a longtime friend of the Facebook CEO, complained that Facebook had proposed creating a kind of “Supreme Court” to decide on the addition of its controversial content. This concept now forms the basis of what we know as the Oversight Board.

According to Facebook, the oversight board is meant to be completely independent. But the social media company initially provided সরবরাহ 130 million in funding – which lasted six years – and helped select board members. Throughout the process, Mark Zuckerberg was “heavily involved in the creation of the board.” The New York His report The source of the observation board and in the early days.

Oversight, on the other hand, has gone the way of emphasizing its independence. Its public policy manager, Rachel Olbers, even recently suggested that the board might one day decide to add content for other platforms. “We hope we are going to do a great job that other agencies will ask for our help as well,” he said in the presence of SXSW.


Currently, the board has 19 members from around the world (originally 20, but one in February Judiciary). Incidentally, it will expand to 40, although its Helps to increase or decrease the correct number “to the appropriate size.

This is the first Alan Rossbridger, former editor-in-chief Guardian; Hale Thorning-Schmidt, former Prime Minister of Denmark; And John Samples, vice-president of the Libertarian Cato Institute. All members have “experience advocating for or advocating for human rights,” Board. And accept all members For their part-time work with the organization.

However, unlike the actual Supreme Court, the Oversight Board has a term limit. Members are limited to a three-year term.

How the monitoring board works

Facebook will take thousands of posts every day, but only those small parts will become the case for the official monitoring board. For those who do, there are several ways that any case can get on the board.

When Facebook drops a post for breaking a rule, users have the option to appeal the decision. Sometimes, as a result of these appeals, Facebook reverses its decision. But in cases when Facebook likes No. To restore the pieces, users have the option I approached the observation board as a last resort. Again, appealing is not a guarantee that the board will accept the case. Of the more than 300,000 appeals it received, only 11 cases were selected.

This week, Facebook announced that it would expand the kind of content that the board could weigh by enabling users to apply different types. Instead of competing with the content that Facebook has removed, users will now have the ability to apply for content that the company has chosen .

Under this approach, users are first required to follow Facebook’s reporting process. If the company finally decides to leave the reported post, they will alert the user who reported it with a reference ID that allows them to apply to the supervisory board. There is a significant difference comparable to the application process for down-downs Able to apply for the same post in this “give up” case.

Facebook will now allow users to appeal to content that has not been downloaded.


Finally, Facebook’s policy executives have the power to extend “significant and difficult” decisions directly to the board without having to wait for the application process. Trump’s suspension was one such incident. However, the company The board filed a lawsuit involving misinformation about COVID-19, which eventually overturned a decision to remove a post criticizing the French government over COVID-19 treatment.

Once the board decides, Facebook needs to implement it. Anyone who points out the agency, , Able to overlook the supervisory board. At the same time, Facebook is only obliged to apply the board’s decisions to their specific cases, although the company said it would try to apply the decision “in a context consistent with the parallel context.”

However, the board may have some influence on the underlying principles of the social network – at least in theory, in addition to each withdrawal / waiver decision, the board also relies on company rules and offers its own advice. Facebook needs to respond to these recommendations but, importantly, does not need to follow its advice.

So while the board may apply considerable force in certain areas, such as the upcoming Trump decision, Facebook’s own policy comes into play when it comes to finalizing. This led Advocacy groups and other organizations who say “a board overseeing oversight” will also be able to influence other major issues, such as advertising policies and Facebook’s algorithms.

So far this is what has happened

The board has ruled in only seven cases, and Facebook’s initial decision in five of them. (Done The board may be pushing for the restoration of Trump’s account, but has so far given no indication of how it will be governed.)

Apparently, the board called some of Facebook’s content policies “inappropriately vague” or “not clear enough for users.” And its initial lots of recommendations to Facebook have encouraged the company to communicate more clearly with users. Similarly, the board expressed some skepticism about the agency’s decision to use Facebook’s automation, saying that users should know when a post will be removed as a result of the automated identification tool.

Facebook's response to the Monitoring Board's policy recommendations


It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. Facebook has recently released it In the initial set of policy recommendations of the Monitoring Board and its commitments were somewhat stricter. In some cases, the company has made some significant changes. For example, it has agreed to clarify the nudity policy for Instagram and has chosen to better explain its policies in providing misinformation about the vaccine.

In other cases, Facebook’s responses were more causal. The company made various vague promises to increase “transparency” but made a few specific proposals. In response to the other recommendations offered, the company simply stated that it was “evaluating the feasibility” of the changes.

When it comes to Trump’s decision, the board suggested that it would also consider Facebook’s policies . But again, there is no need to implement any change in social networks.

As far as we know, the board is already treating Trump’s decision differently than in other cases. Just days after the original 90-day deadline, the board announced it was , Citing more than 9,000 public comments it received. The decision is now expected “in the coming weeks”.

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