Acknowledge this: the Facebook Oversight Committee is working


From Press releases filled my inbox, tweets lighted up my timeline, and no one is satisfied with Facebook right now.Last Friday, the company released Its response Go to the Facebook Oversight Committee’s proposal to ban Donald Trump indefinitely. We understand that Trump’s account has now been frozen for two full years since his initial January 7 suspension date, at which time Facebook will reassess the risk of letting him start again. The response also included many other policy changes. Opinions on the announcement range from calling it meaningless “Responsibility Theater” to Suggest This is cowardly and irresponsible. Of course, Republicans are angry that Trump has not reinstated.

I admit to finding myself in a different camp. The supervisory committee is performing a valuable but very limited function, and Trump’s case illustrates the reason.

When the board of directors issued its ruling for the first time last month, it issued a binding order – Facebook must clarify specific actions on Donald Trump’s account and cannot continue to suspend indefinitely – and non-binding recommendations, Most notably, the platform’s policy politicians who give up processing claims are inherently “newsworthy” and are therefore not subject to the rules that apply to everyone else.Just like me wrote At the time, Facebook’s response to the non-binding part may prove more important. Not only does it apply to Trump’s account, but it also applies to a wider range. It will show whether the company is willing to follow the recommendations of the supervisory committee even when it is unnecessary.

Now we know that the answer to the last question is yes. In Friday’s announcement, Facebook stated that it is committed to fully complying with 15 of the 19 non-binding recommendations. Of the remaining four, it rejected one, partially followed the other, and did more research on the two.

The most interesting promise is around the “newsworth allowance.” Facebook said it will retain exceptions, which means it will still allow some content that violates its community standards to be retained, provided that the content is “newsworthy or important to the public interest.” The difference is that the platform will no longer treat politicians’ posts as more newsworthy than anyone else’s posts. It also increases transparency by creating a page explaining the rules; starting next year, it said it will publish an explanation every time an exception is applied to content that would otherwise be deleted.

Let’s take a moment to understand: Facebook received detailed feedback from a group of thoughtful critics, and Mark Zuckerberg signed a specific policy change and added some transparency. This is progress!

Now, please don’t confuse this to get full approval. Facebook’s statement has a lot to criticize​​. Regarding Trump’s ban, although the company has now formulated more detailed policies on “increasing penalties for public figures during periods of civil unrest and continued violence,” the fact that it has proposed a maximum suspension of two years seems to be possible When Trump was about to start his presidential campaign again, he returned to the platform. Facebook’s new commitment to transparency has many shortcomings.its New interpretation For example, zero information about how Facebook defines “newsworthy” provides zero information—a very important detail. Perhaps the case-by-case explanation starting next year will be clearer, but until then, the policy is as transparent as fog on the bathroom window.

In fact, as with any announcement made by Facebook, we cannot fully evaluate this announcement until we see how the company implements it in practice. In some cases, Facebook claims that it has followed the recommendations of the supervisory committee. This can be unbelievable.For example, in response to the suggestion to rely on regional language and political expertise when implementing policies on a global scale, the company stated: “We ensure that content reviewers are supported by teams with regional and language expertise, including giving speeches.” A Reuters survey A study published this week found that posts promoting homosexual conversion therapy prohibited by Facebook’s rules continue to be rampant in Arab countries, “Practitioners post to millions of fans through verified accounts.” Evelyn Douek, a content review scholar Take it, Many of which stated that “Facebook gave itself a gold star, but they are at best fringe passes.”


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