You Can Finally Flag Bad Takes Directly to Facebook’s Oversight Board

You Can Finally Flag Bad Takes Directly to Facebook’s Oversight Board
Photo: Joel Saget, Getty Images

If you have problems with any hate speech, harassment, or generally bad takes that appear on your Facebook feed, good news! On Tuesday, the (supposedly) independent Oversight Board announced that users can appeal directly to it directly regarding questionable content that’s been left up on Facebook and Instagram.

Here’s how it works: After you’ve gone through the regular Facebook appeals process to get a post removed, you’ll get an Oversight Board Reference ID that you can use to appeal your case directly to them.

According to the Oversight Board’s announcement, you can appeal decisions on posts, statuses, videos, comments, and shares you feel should be taken down for any given reason. If many people report the same, say, status update, then every appeal will be gathered into a single case file for the board to review. The board also notes that it will try to eschew any identifying details about the Facebook or Instagram user who reported the content — unless they “have given permission for us to do so.”

This is a significant expansion of the board’s original purview. When it first debuted this past October, Facebook’s base could only appeal to restore content they felt was wrongfully taken down. The first five cases the board took on earlier this year, for example, ranged from a Brazilian user appealing her breast cancer awareness pictures that were flagged for nudity to a French user appealing the removal of his viral video that debunked hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for covid-19. Now, three months after those first cases were announced, the board’s giving us the chance to contest content that’s been left standing.