Facebook Oversight Board takes up first six cases for review

They involve a post in a group claiming hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a cure for COVID-19 and criticising the French govt's response to the pandemic.
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Facebook on Tuesday announced that its newly-constituted Oversight Board has taken up the first six cases for review, including five user appeals and one case referred by the social network for violating the guidelines.

The board also announced that its public comment system is now live. It will allow anyone, from the general public to subject matter experts and civil society organisations, to submit research and perspectives relating to cases, Facebook said in a statement.

The first six cases involve a post in a Group claiming hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin is a cure for Covid-19 and criticising the French government's response to the deadly disease. This case has been referred by Facebook to the independent board that became functional in October with 20 external members of the society (including one from India).

"Facebook referred this case to the board because we found it significant and difficult as it creates tension between our values of voice and safety", said Brent Harris, Director of Governance and Global Affairs.

Other cases where the platforms community guidelines have been violated concerns comments made by a public figure about violence against French people and a photo of a deceased child and commentary on China's treatment of Uyghur Muslims.

"There is a case concerning historical photos purportedly showing churches in Baku and a caption indicating disdain for Azerbaijani people and support for Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute," Facebook said.

Rest of the cases are concerning photos with nudity related to breast cancer symptoms and a post which contained an alleged quote from Joseph Goebbels, the Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany. The board began accepting cases last month, and it will continue to receive appeals while it considers these six cases.

Facebook will also continue to refer cases that we see as significant and difficult. "Once the board makes a decision, we will update each post to include details about the decision and how we have implemented it for relevant content," the social network said.

If the board issues a policy advisory statement, Facebook said will update the post again with its response to that statement. The board also welcomed five additional trustees to the Oversight Board Trust.

The Oversight Board was formed in May this year to offer a new model of content moderation for Facebook and Instagram.

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