Facebook has now added a new level to its censorship process.
On October 22, Facebook announced that its Oversight Board (the Board) will now be taking cases for review, less than two weeks before the presidential election.
The twenty-member board, which was announced in 2018, is intended to be the final authority on content removals from Facebook. The purpose of the Board is “to promote free expression by making principled, independent decisions regarding content on Facebook and Instagram and by issuing recommendations on the relevant Facebook company content policy,” according to the Oversight Board’s website. Facebook said that it plans to add an additional twenty members in 2021.
Facebook claims that this Board will be independent, and that its decisions will be binding. However, a report from June of 2019 stated that “we cannot confer on the Board greater authority than Facebook itself has.” This language inevitably leads one to wonder whether the board can actually act independently if it does not have greater power than Facebook.
In a call with reporters, Helle Thorning Schmidt, one of the Board members, said that the Board is “comprised of members from throughout the world who will make final and binding decisions on what content Facebook and Instagram should allow or remove, founded largely on respect for freedom of expression and human rights.”
The Board will not accept cases about content that Facebook took down in the past (or retroactively review content). These new policies will only apply to cases from October 22 and moving forward, according to representatives on the call.
Rachel Wilmurs, one of the spokespeople on the call, described the process for appeals to the Board. Not all Board members will be involved with every case, but will “be assigned to a five-member case panel, which will always include at least one member of the Board from the region identified by the user as containing their primary audience.” Additionally — in what appears to be an attempt to remain woke — Wilmurs noted that the “panels will have gender balance.”
Given that the board is primarily comprised of leftists, the suppression of conservative speech on the platform may not change at all, and could even get worse.
Earlier this week, Facebook removed a post from the satire website The Babylon Bee after reportedly claiming that it “incited violence.” At the beginning of October, Facebook removed a post from President Donald Trump in which he claimed that COVID-19 is less lethal “in most populations” than the “Flu.” On September 3, Facebook flagged Trump’s post that told voters how to make sure their votes have been properly collected and tabulated.
Conservatives are under attack. Contact Facebook headquarters at 1-650-308-7300 and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.