- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Facebook users who want the platform to censor more content online have a new avenue to silence the content they deem objectionable if Facebook disagrees with them.

Facebook‘s Oversight Board said Tuesday that it would accept appeals from users that want content deleted from Facebook‘s platforms. Previously, the board only allowed users to appeal Facebook‘s decisions to remove content.

“After you have exhausted Facebook‘s appeals process, you will receive an Oversight Board Reference ID in your support inbox and can appeal the decision to the board,” the board said on its website. “You can appeal decisions on posts and statuses, as well as photos, videos, comments, and shares.”

The board has responsibility for content enforcement and governance on Facebook, functioning as something resembling judicial review for content moderation online.

“The Board will use its independent judgment to decide what to leave up and what to take down,” the board said. “Our decisions will be binding on Facebook.”

The board operates with a $130 million trust from Facebook and whether the company neatly follows all of the board’s decisions remains to be seen. To better ensure that the company follows the board’s judgments, the board is looking to hire a “case decisions implementation and monitoring officer” whose job will be to track whether Facebook follows through as intended and to help the board make recommendations that are “easily implementable” by Facebook, according to a job listing by the board.

The board said Tuesday that the option for users to appeal for content removal will be made available to all users in the coming weeks and will be rolled out in a phased approach to ensure there are not any technical issues. The board called the expansion of its powers over Facebook a “significant milestone” in its development.

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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