Facebook's 'supreme court' just ruled against Facebook

Facebook's court-like Oversight Board overturned several of the company's decisions to remove content in its first set of decisions since the independent bod...

Posted: Jan 28, 2021 12:14 PM
Updated: Jan 28, 2021 12:45 PM

Facebook's court-like Oversight Board overturned several of the company's decisions to remove content in its first set of decisions since the independent body began hearing cases last fall.

The board, which has been called Facebook's version of a Supreme Court, announced Thursday that it overturned Facebook's decisions in four out of the five cases before it. The cases touched on issues of hate speech, nudity and Covid misinformation.

Facebook's Oversight Board is intended to create a new way for users to appeal content decisions on both Facebook and Instagram, given previous criticism over how the company handles hate speech, violent extremism and graphic materials. The 20-person board includes a former prime minister, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and the former editor-in-chief of The Guardian. Facebook says its decisions are final and binding.

All five cases involved Facebook taking down posts for breaking its rules. In one case, Facebook removed a post from a Myanmar user who shared two photos of a Syrian toddler of Kurdish ethnicity who drowned attempting to reach Europe in 2015. The text accompanying the photo, according to the board's description, said there was 'something wrong with Muslims (or Muslim men) psychologically or with their mindset.' (Myanmar has faced international scrutiny for the persecution against Rohingya Muslims.)

Facebook removed the post due to its hate speech policies. 'The Board found that, while the post might be considered pejorative or offensive towards Muslims, it did not advocate hatred or intentionally incite any form of imminent harm. As such, the Board does not consider its removal to be necessary to protect the rights of others,' the board posted on its website explaining the decision.

Another case centered on nudity. The board reversed Facebook's removal of an Instagram post from a Brazilian user that was meant to raise awareness about breast cancer. 'The post included five photographs that showed women's nipples, which the board declared permissible in light of Facebook's own policy exception for 'breast cancer awareness,'' the board said.

The first series of decisions come ahead of the most closely watched case yet for the board: whether former President Donald Trump gets to stay on Facebook.

Earlier this month, Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram banned the ex-president's account from posting for at least the remainder of his term and potentially 'indefinitely' after a mob of his supporters stormed the US Capitol to protest the election results.

Last week, Facebook said it referred its suspension of the former president to the independent board for review. The board will have 90 days from that referral to decide whether the Trump ban should be upheld or not, but a spokesperson for the board said it expects to 'act more quickly than that.'

The decisions announced Thursday suggest that the board has no issue disagreeing with Facebook.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319948

Reported Deaths: 7371
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22285267
Hinds20719421
Harrison18431317
Rankin13901282
Jackson13718248
Madison10263224
Lee10059176
Jones8467167
Forrest7832153
Lauderdale7261242
Lowndes6517150
Lamar635188
Lafayette6313121
Washington5425137
Bolivar4841133
Panola4670110
Oktibbeha466198
Pearl River4605147
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425873
Monroe4157135
Union415777
Neshoba4063179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386987
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3371111
Alcorn327272
Scott320374
Yazoo314171
Adams308086
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298589
Tippah291968
Prentiss284161
Leake272074
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264642
Grenada264087
George252251
Newton248663
Tishomingo231868
Winston230181
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190474
Stone188433
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164134
Walthall135347
Greene131834
Lawrence131124
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127238
Amite126242
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108234
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548657

Reported Deaths: 11306
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810031566
Mobile42105831
Madison35690525
Tuscaloosa26173458
Shelby25607254
Montgomery25081614
Baldwin21868314
Lee16278176
Calhoun14719327
Morgan14629285
Etowah14175364
Marshall12453230
Houston10781287
Elmore10293214
Limestone10179157
St. Clair10162251
Cullman9952201
Lauderdale9603250
DeKalb8972190
Talladega8460184
Walker7338280
Autauga7241113
Blount6945139
Jackson6932113
Colbert6413140
Coffee5635127
Dale4928116
Russell454841
Chilton4476116
Franklin431382
Covington4275122
Tallapoosa4138155
Escambia401680
Chambers3728124
Dallas3607158
Clarke353061
Marion3240107
Pike314378
Lawrence3133100
Winston283472
Bibb268564
Geneva257981
Marengo250565
Pickens236962
Barbour234559
Hale227278
Butler224271
Fayette218862
Henry194543
Randolph187544
Cherokee187345
Monroe180041
Washington170539
Macon163051
Clay160059
Crenshaw155957
Cleburne153444
Lamar146837
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124342
Conecuh113630
Coosa111729
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
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