What is Allowed And Forbidden on Facebook

Facebook‘s supervisory board released its decisions in the first five cases it discussed. Council rulings are binding on Facebook when it comes to specific posts, but these are not precedents that will bind the company in similar cases in the future.

Facebook‘s Supervisory Board released its decisions tonight (Thursday) in the first five cases it discussed. In four of them, the council decided to reverse Facebook’s decision to remove posts on the social network and Instagram and return the posts for publication, and only in one of them did it confirm the company’s decision.

The council’s rulings bind Facebook to the specific posts it discusses, but these are not precedents that will bind the company in similar cases in the future. The council also published a series of recommendations arising from each decision, but here too these are non-binding recommendations and it is not known which of them, if any, Facebook will adopt.

“Our first cases come from Asia, Europe, North America and South America,” the council wrote in a Twitter tweet. “Billion people around the world use Facebook services. Independent and effective oversight requires a global approach. None of the cases have easy answers. They all raised significant questions about human rights and freedom of expression. Members considered variables such as nuances of language, user intent and broad context. “Through a transparent and principled procedure. Too many content decisions today are inconsistent and opaque.”

In one case, the council decided to reverse Facebook’s decision to remove a post that included a quote from Josef Goebbels, who argued, among other things, that the truth did not matter and that it was subject to tactics and psychology. Facebook removed the post, which was published last October, claiming it violates community rules related to individuals and dangerous organizations. Addressing the council, the user who wrote the post said he did not include a picture of Goebbels or Nazi symbols, and that his intention was to compare the sentiment in the quote to the presidency of Donald Trump.

The company, and that posts quoting such people are treated as if they were supported unless the user provided the context that clarifies his intention. In examining the case, the council came to the conclusion that the post did not express support for Nazi ideology or the actions of the Nazis, and that the reactions to the post made it clear that the target audience understood that this was a statement about the Trump presidency. In addition, the council found that Facebook’s rules on the subject were unclear and inaccurate, and that there was a gap between Facebook’s public policy and the non-public rules used by the company’s content controllers.

Therefore, the council decided to return the post and recommended to Facebook to make sure users are aware of the reasons for the removal, including the specific rule, to explain through examples the implementation of the policy and dangerous organizations and publish the list of dangerous organizations or people, or at least examples.

In another case, the council made an Instagram decision to remove a post from a Brazilian user posted to promote breast cancer awareness and included eight photos showing different symptoms of the disease, five of which included nude photos. The post was removed by the social network’s automated systems claiming it violated community rules regarding the posting of nude photos, but was reinstated after the council chose to discuss the decision.

According to the council, this indicates a lack of human supervision in the removal of content, which raises concerns about human rights violations. “Facebook’s automated system did not recognize the words ‘breast cancer’ that appeared in the image in Portuguese, and the post was accidentally removed,” the council statement said. “Because Facebook treats women’s and men’s nipples differently, the use of inaccurate rule enforcement automation does not proportionally infringe on women’s freedom of expression.” The council also recommended that Facebook inform users when their content has been automatically removed and allow them to appeal to a human controller, and change Instagram’s community rules to allow nipple display in posts designed to raise breast cancer awareness.

Other cases in which the council decided to reverse the Facebook decision include a case in which the social network blocked a post criticizing the lack of reaction of Muslims around the world to its treatment of the Uighur Muslim minority in China compared to the violent reaction to cartoons in France (Facebook claimed to remove the post. Something is wrong with the psychology of Muslims “, but the council’s examination suggested that a more accurate translation would be” there is something wrong with the thinking of Muslim men “) and a post criticizing the French government’s response to Corona claiming there was a cure (according to the council). For over-the-counter purchases in France, so the fear that it will cause little damage and on the other hand it is important to present the criticism of the government).

On the other hand, the council decided to ratify Facebook’s decision to remove a post that used the Russian word тазики (taziks) to describe Azerbaijanis, and agreed with the company that the context of the post was to dehumanize and violate company rules against hate speech.

Amy Palmor, the former director general of the Justice Department who serves as one of the council’s 20 founding members, told Calcalist tonight: “The first decisions indicate our commitment to Facebook to make clear demands to improve and pinpoint the way it jumps content and communicates with its users. The process itself allows, for the first time, a critique of a variety of professional perspectives – jurists, technology, press, from different countries and cultures, who understand users and their frustration with Facebook differently.The process is as transparent as possible and gives the public an opportunity to voice their position. And I hope that the Israeli public will also use this to make their voices heard. “

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