Facebook oversight board ‘disappointed’ by company pulling Ukraine guidance request


An oversight board for Facebook and Instagram parent Meta said it was “disappointed” after the social media company withdrew a request for policy guidance on content moderation related to the war in Ukraine.

In a series of tweets, the Oversight Board, which is independent from Meta and made up of about 40 members from around the world with varying backgrounds, said Meta’s withdrawal for guidance on posts involving the war in Ukraine “raises important issues.”

“The withdrawal of this request does not diminish Meta’s responsibility to carefully consider the ongoing content moderation issues which have arisen from this war, which the Board continues to follow,” the Oversight Board tweeted. “Indeed, the importance for the company to defend freedom of expression and human rights has only increased.”

The Oversight Board rules on issues as an independent body, helping Meta police content on its social media platforms for controversial posts. It seeks to strike a balance between free speech and acceptable posting.

A ruling from the Oversight Board must be followed, according to the organization’s webpage.

Meta announced on Wednesday it had withdrawn a request for what is called a policy advisory opinion (PAO) about content related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, citing “ongoing safety and security concerns,” but not giving any further details.

“While the PAO has been withdrawn, we stand by our efforts related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and believe we are taking the right steps to protect speech and balance the ongoing security concerns on the ground,” the company wrote in a blog post.

Meta said it would staff a “special operations center” with both Russian and Ukrainian speakers and take “extensive steps to fight the spread of misinformation.”

Russia has banned Facebook and Instagram, labeling Meta as “extremist” after the company allowed Ukrainians to post some violent content.

Meta banned Russian state media from Facebook in February, shortly after Russian troops invaded Ukraine and proliferated disinformation content justifying its invasion.

Tags Facebook Instagram META Ukraine

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