Admit it: Facebook’s oversight board is kind of a business

beganing of Press releases fill my inbox and tweets light up my timeline, no one is happy with Facebook right now. The company released on Friday his response For the recommendations of the Facebook Oversight Board on the indefinite ban of Donald Trump. We learned that Trump’s account has now been suspended for precisely two years from the date of his original suspension on January 7, at which point Facebook will reassess the risks of allowing him to return. The response also includes a number of other policy changes. Opinions on the ad range from describing it as “accountability scene“For suggesting He is cowardly and irresponsible. Republicans, of course, are angry that Trump has not returned.

I admit that I found myself in a different camp. The Oversight Board performs a valuable, albeit very limited, function, and Trump’s position shows why.

When the board first published its ruling last month, it issued a binding order — Facebook must clarify specific action on Donald Trump’s account, and cannot continue to be suspended indefinitely — and non-binding recommendations, most notably that the platform drop its policy on handling comments Politicians are seen as “publishable” in nature, and are thus excluded from the rules that apply to everyone else. I Wrote At that time, Facebook’s response to the non-binding portion will likely be more significant. It would apply more broadly than just Trump’s account, and would show whether the company is willing to follow the advice of the oversight board even when it doesn’t have to.

We now know that the answer to this last question is yes. In its announcement on Friday, Facebook said it is fully committed to following 15 of its 19 non-binding recommendations. Of the remaining four, one rejects, the other partially follows, and further searches on two.

The most interesting commitments revolve around the News Publication Allowance. Facebook says it will keep the exception in place, meaning it will still allow some content that violates its Community Standards to remain if it is “newsworthy or important to the public interest”. The difference is that the platform will no longer treat politicians’ posts as more newsworthy in nature than anyone else’s posts. It also increases transparency by creating a page explaining the rule; As of next year, it says it will post an explanation every time the exception is applied to content that would otherwise have been removed.

Let this sink in for a moment: Facebook took detailed comments from a group of thoughtful critics and Mark Zuckerberg signed off on a concrete policy change, as well as some increased transparency. This is progress!

Now, please don’t confuse this for full endorsement. There is a lot to criticize about Facebook advertising. Regarding Trump’s ban, while the company has now drafted more detailed policies around “heightened penalties for public figures in times of civil unrest and ongoing violence,” the fact that it came with a two-year maximum suspension appears suspiciously designed to allow Trump to return to the podium only when he prepares to start Run for president again. And Facebook’s new commitments to transparency leave much to be desired. It new explanation From the news merit allowance, for example, it doesn’t provide any information about how Facebook defines “newsworthy” in the first place – very important details. Perhaps case-by-case explanations starting next year will shed more light, but until then, the policy remains as transparent as a misty bathroom window.

In fact, as with any Facebook ad, it would be impossible to fully evaluate this ad until we see how the company is proceeding in practice. In many cases, Facebook claims that it is already following the recommendations of the oversight board. This can strain naivety. For example, in response to a suggestion that it draws on regional linguistic and political expertise in implementing policies around the world, the company declares, “We ensure content reviewers are supported by teams with regional and linguistic expertise, including the context in which speech is presented.” So far, Reuters Investigation The post this week found that posts promoting gay conversion therapy, which are banned by Facebook’s rules, are still prevalent in Arab countries, “where practitioners post to millions of followers via verified accounts” as content moderation researcher Evelyn Dweck put it, with many of his statements, “Facebook gives itself a gold star, but it’s really borderline phrases at best.”

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