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Users can now appeal to Facebook's Oversight Board to delete content

Screenshots depicting the process of filing an appeal to the Oversight Board

Facebook has announced that, starting today, users of either Facebook or Instagram can now appeal to the company's Oversight Board if reported content is left up on the platforms. In October of last year, Facebook had announced that the board was ready to start reviewing cases, but it was limited to appealing content that was removed, if the user disagreed with that decision. Now, if a user reports content and Facebook decides it doesn't go against its Community Standards, the user can request an additional review.

When requesting further reviews by the Oversight Board, users can select a number of reasons for the appeal. For example, they may believe the content goes against the Community Standards, but they may also consider that the Community Standards aren't where they should be, which could potentially prompt Facebook to rework its policies.

Facebook says it had to deal with a lot of questions when it considered opening up the Board for additional reviews, such as how to handle content that is reported by multiple people, potentially for different reasons, or when should the board stop listening to new appeals once it has accepted a case. To address those questions, the company has designed a process that allows multiple appeals to be filed under a single case, linked to the content that's being reported on. Every user who reports that content will have a chance to explain why they believe it should be removed, even if other users have already tried. On the other hand, if a case is accepted, users can continue submitting statements to the Oversight Board up until it begins deliberations.

Screenshots showing how to request an additional review of reported content on Facebook

Another hurdle is privacy, and on that note, Facebook says that reporting users will need to give consent for their identifiable information to be used in a case's file. Finally, there's the matter of communicating with users, to which end the company will update the status of a specific appeal on the Oversight Board's website, whether it be to inform users that a case has been picked up by the board or to tell them the final deliberation on the case.

This step represents an evolution of the Oversight Board's scope, and Facebook promises to continue increasing it over time. Presumably, this should help the social network be a platform that's more up to the users' standards.

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