Facebook’s Oversight Board, an independent group set up to review some of the company’s controversial content decisions, expands its authority to allow users to appeal to a company that allows a company to remain on social media, not just those deleted.
The board, which was announced in 2018 and came into operation late last year, aims to provide a powerful check on Facebook by reviewing the company’s content decisions that conflict with its policies. To date, the board has reviewed only six cases, all cases in which Facebook has removed the content of its service.
Now the board, which includes academics, lawyers, and journalists, will also review cases submitted by users when Facebook content managers have decided to leave the post at the top. The change will greatly increase the number of posts that the board can explore. Facebook has promised to comply with the board’s recommendations regarding whether to delete or retrieve posts.
Guy Rosen, vice president of integrity on Facebook, said in a blog post that the company “is pleased that the Oversight Board is expanding its size and impact, and is looking forward to its future decisions and recommendations.”
To compensate for the increased burden, the board will grow from 20 members to 40 members in the coming months, according to board member Alan Rusbridger.
“It will enable our work to be mobilized so that people can recruit us in both ways,” Rusbridger said in a statement.
At the same time the board will be able to manage a fraction of the cases. “How effective it is depends on whether we are building the right cases,” he said.
One of the cases the Oversight Board is currently reviewing is whether Facebook violated its decision to bar then-President Donald Trump from the job in January. Trump was banned on January 6 after sharing posts that encouraged his supporters to march to the US Capitol to protest the election results, which led to violence. Facebook has assumed that Trump is inciting violence and will suspend him permanently until the Board completes its investigation.