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Facebook Oversight Board reduces timelines for deciding cases

Facebook recently established an Oversight board for appeals related to content moderation. The board on Tuesday announced that it is revising bylaws related to the case decision timelines.

The board is team of people who take decisions related to content moderation for Facebook. It is an independent quasi-judicial body for Facebook which was created in response to Facebook’s criticism of handling problematic content. The Board is comprised of members’ form 27 countries. It has 4 co-chairs which are held by a former U.S. federal circuit judges, an attorney, former Danish PM, and a former EUHR judge. Other members include digital rights advocate, journalist, Nobel peace prize holders etc. Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Vice Chancellor of National Law School of India University (NLSIU), is the Indian representative in the Oversight Board of Facebook.  

Facebook Oversight Board has the powers to settle, negotiate, mediate proceedings and also overrule the decision taken by the company (Facebook) on whether to take down posts and recommend policy changes. While taking this decision the board will apply Facebook’s policies and will consider the public interest. The board started hearing cases on 22nd October,2020.  

New Timeline Rules 

The Oversight board is changing the time taken \to reach a decision to take down content. The stipulated time to take down the content is set to 90 days by the board. The timeline would start when the board takes up a case for review. In simpler words, the timeline starts when Facebook takes a call on the content.

“This update will help ensure that all cases have the same amount of time for deliberation, no matter when the case was referred to the Board by Facebook or a user,” said a member of the board. 

How to reach the oversight board? 

You can appeal to the Oversight Board if Facebook takes down your content and you have already requested a review of the decision. Facebook says that not all content is eligible for appeal, rather they will create an Oversight Board Reference ID in the user Support Inbox. This reference ID will start with “FB” followed by 8 digits alphanumeric.  User can follow the on screen instruction which will take them to the Oversight Board website to complete their appeal. 

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Adv. Bhagyashree Swami

Bhagyashree is a qualified advocate practicing in criminal/ cyber law and a certified CIPP/ E data protection professional. She has a great academic record with a LLM degree in Computer and Communication Laws from Queen Mary University of London. She also holds technical expertise in the area of digital forensics and investigation.

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