Thu. Jan 21st, 2021

Facebook Inc.’s independent oversight board said on Tuesday that it has an initial six cases that could serve as a basis to removing certain pieces of content from its platforms, which signals the start of a possible crackdown on offensive content in Facebook itself.

The board, which Facebook created in response to criticism of its handling of problematic content, said it had received 20,000 cases since it opened its doors in October.

Three of the six cases involved content that Facebook removed for breaking hate speech rules.

An Oversight Board spokesman said hate speech cases had been “the most significant proportion” of appeals received.

“Hate speech is an especially difficult area,” Jamal Greene, one of the board’s co-chairs and a professor at Columbia Law School, said in an interview with Reuters news agency. “It’s not that easy … for an algorithm to get the context of” such speech.

In November, Facebook for the first time disclosed numbers on the prevalence of hate speech on the platform, saying that of every 10,000 content views in the third quarter, 10 to 11 included hate speech.

The board’s other chosen cases involved content removed from Facebook or Instagram for violating rules on adult nudity, dangerous individuals and organizations, and violence and incitement. SOVEREIGNPH

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