In the aftermath of the 2020 election, a semi-independent oversight board upheld the US President Donald Trump’s suspension from Facebook for promoting terror, while also criticizing the social media giant’s handling of the situation.
The board was established last October amid a raging debate about Facebook’s ability to handle hate speech and disinformation on the site, which critics claim has contributed to abuse, human rights abuses, and even genocide around the world. Facebook has 1.7 billion users worldwide.
The decision, which gives Facebook six months to reconsider Trump’s suspension, also asks the company to “fix widespread uncertainty regarding how decisions relating to prominent users are taken,” according to the decision released on Wednesday.
The following are the other suggestions made in the decision:
- “Assign material containing political speech from highly prominent users to specialist personnel who are familiar with the linguistic and political background as quickly as possible. Political and economic intervention, as well as unfair control, should be avoided for these employees.
- Appropriate resources and skills should be allocated to assessing the risks of damage from powerful accounts around the world.
- Produce more detail to assist users in understanding and evaluating the newsworthiness allowance process and conditions, and how it relates to popular accounts. The organization should also explicitly clarify the cross-check review’s logic, criteria, and processes, as well as report on the relative error rates of cross-checking determinations against standard compliance procedures.
- Conduct a thorough investigation into Facebook’s possible role in the narrative of electoral fraud and the heightened tensions that resulted in violence in the United States on January 6. This should be an open discussion about Facebook’s design and policy decisions that could cause its platform to be exploited.
- Make it clear in its corporate human rights strategy how it gathers, protects, and shares information to aid in the investigation and possible prosecution of grave violations of international criminal, human rights, and humanitarian law.
- Explain how Facebook’s Community Standards and Instagram’s Community Guidelines use strikes and fines to limit profiles, sites, groups, and accounts.
- In its transparency reporting, including the number of the profile, website, and account constraints, with details broken down by region and country.
Provide users with easy-to-understand details about how many violations, strikes, and fines they’ve received, as well as the repercussions of potential violations.
- Create and publish a policy that regulates Facebook’s response to emergencies or novel circumstances in which its normal processes would fail to prevent or mitigate imminent damage. This guideline should include a provision to revisit its judgment within a certain time frame.”
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