Meta asked its oversight board whether its existing policy on removing COVID-19 misinformation – “introduced in extraordinary circumstances at the start of the pandemic” – should be updated to reduce penalties for violations. . Moving, announced tuesdayis part of the company’s ongoing efforts to strike a balance between free speech and public safety.
The 23 members Supervisory Board, which helps decide Meta’s content policy and application, selects, deliberates, and regularly posts updates on its decisions on individual policy cases. This has been likened to Supreme Court of Facebook. Meta describes the board as “an independent body that people can appeal to if they disagree with the decisions we’ve made about content on Facebook or Instagram.”
The tech giant cited the “return to normal” of life in countries with high vaccination rates as one of the reasons for its request to the Oversight Council. But he also acknowledged that the evolution of the pandemic varies around the world and that any policy changes should take into account regions that are still experiencing lower vaccination rates.
“Now that the COVID-19 situation has evolved, we seek advice from the Oversight Council on whether we should change the way we deal with this type of misinformation through other means, such as labeling or demotion” , Meta wrote in a statement. “Resolving the inherent tensions between freedom of expression and safety is not easy, especially when faced with unprecedented and rapid challenges, as we have been during the pandemic. This is why we seek the opinion of the Supervisory Board in this case. »
On the same day, the Supervisory Board announced on Twitter that it accepted Meta’s request. He is ask for public comment on criteria for removal of emergency responses in the future and the use of algorithms to label or remove content.
Verified signatories to the International Fact-Checking Network said they would “closely monitor” developments.
“Many countries, including Ghana, have seen an increase in the number of active COVID-19 cases, and the death toll continues to rise,” said Rabiu Alhassan, editor of fact-checking newspaper Ghana Fact. “Even more worrying is the fact that we are struggling to get a significant number of the population vaccinated due to great hesitation, which is largely due to the deluge of misinformation and conspiracy theories they have been exposed to about the social networks. So, in the interest of public safety, internet companies should continue to sanitize their platforms.
Meta gave the Supervisory Board four policy options to consider: “continue to remove misinformation;” “reduce the dissemination of false information;” “sending misinformation to fact-checkers to verify, downgrade and label;” and “add labels referring to reliable information”.
The current of Meta Politics is to remove approximately 80 different types of claims related to COVID-19 and vaccines. Saying that vaccines cause autism, sudden infant death syndrome or are generally ineffective are some current examples of removable claims. Other claims worthy of deletion, per the policy, state that wearing a face mask “does not help prevent the spread of COVID-19” or that “wearing a face mask may make the wearer physically ill”.
Facebook has removed 25 million complaints so far during the pandemic, according to the company.
“As the pandemic has evolved, now is a good time for us to seek advice from the Oversight Council on our measures to address COVID-19 misinformation, including whether those introduced at the onset of an extraordinary global crisis stay [sic] the right approach for the months and years to come,” Meta’s statement read.