Meta will be reorganizing its policy enforcement system in response to recommendations by the Facebook Oversight Board.
The company stated it will help users understand the reasons it has taken down their content. It is moving towards a policy of’seven strikes or you’re out” to deal with most offenses, and not immediately blocking them from posting for thirty days.
According to the company, nearly 80 percent of those users who have had a few strikes do not violate their policies in the following 60 days. This indicates that people are responsive to warnings and explanations.
Monika Bickert (Vice President of Content Policy), says that “our analysis suggests that applying harsher penalties at the 7th strike is an effective way to provide well-intentioned individuals the guidance and still remove bad actors.”
For more severe violations, such as child exploitation and suicide promotion or sexual exploitation of children, or selling non-medical drug, it will result in immediate sanctions. This includes account deletions for’severe cases.
This is the response of the company to its policy that penalizes users for posting harmless content.For example, posting your name and address without permission.
“The implications of overenforcement are real — when people are unintentionally caught up in this system, they may find it hard to run their business, connect with their communities or express themselves,” says Bickert.
“Our previous system resorted quickly to long penalties, such as a 30-day block on a person’s ability to create content. This was frustrating for people with good intentions who have made mistakes and it did little to make them more aware of our policies.
She also stated that the blocks could be counterproductive in the sense they make it difficult to spot violations trends, and can sometimes have the unfortunate effect of making real offenders remain on the site for longer periods of time.
Following recommendations of the Facebook Oversight Board (an independent body made up of lawyers, academics and experts) the move was taken. This board acts as a “supreme court” holding Facebook responsible.
Meta’s civil rights auditors also noted that there was a lack of proportionality in the system, just like civil rights groups and many politicians who believe the system is biased.
Naturally, the Oversight Board welcomed Meta’s decision. The Oversight Board cautions however, that there are still areas for improvement.
“Today’s announcement focuses on less serious violations. The Board consistently finds that Meta makes errors when it comes down to identifying more serious violations and applying sanctions. This can have a severe impact on journalists and activists. That’s why the Oversight Board has asked for greater transparency on ‘severe strikes’ and will continue to do so,” it says in a statement.
The Board believes that users must be able explain their posts’ context when they appeal to Meta. Content reviewers should consider this context whenever possible.