ARTICLE 19 and 70+ civil society groups write to Mark Zuckerberg over content removal

Digital 3 min read
ARTICLE 19
ARTICLE 19 and 70+ civil society groups write to Mark Zuckerberg over content removal - Digital
  • ARTICLE 19, EFF, Human Rights Watch and over 70 civil society groups have written to Mark Zuckerberg over Facebook’s content removal procedures.
  • Groups are calling for more transparency, accountability and an improved appeals process for all Facebook users.
  • Current system undermines global freedom of expression.

The freedom of expression organisation ARTICLE 19 and a further 70 civil society groups have written to the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, to ask the company to improve the way it deals with content takedowns.

Executive Director of ARTICLE 19, Thomas Hughes said:

“As the world’s biggest communications platform, Facebook has the power to shape the news and content that we get to see. When content is removed in error, there are consequences for global freedom of expression.

“These policies particularly endanger the free speech of marginalised and minority groups, especially in countries where governments want to silence political dissent.

“Facebook needs to be more transparent about the content it removes and how it is identified, and give ordinary users the opportunity to appeal errors.”

A series of well-publicised cases, such as the  banning of the Little Mermaid for nudity, have highlighted how arbitrary the moderation of Facebook’s content can be. In many of these high profile cases, content has been restored after negative publicity.  But for ordinary users, Facebook only allows appeals in a limited set of circumstances. In many cases, they have absolutely no option to appeal and may have their accounts removed.

The letter demands that Facebook provides a “mechanism for all of its users to appeal content restrictions, and, in every case, to have the appealed decision re-reviewed by a human moderator”.

The letter also calls for more transparency over how much content Facebook removes when it applies its community standards enforcement. The group have asked for transparency reports that show the type of content that has been removed, how the moderation was initiated, whether there was an appeal and how often errors are made.

Read the full letter to Mark Zuckerberg 

For more information, contact Pam Cowburn, [email protected] 00 44 7749 785 932.

Notes to Editors

ARTICLE 19 is an international NGO that campaigns for freedom of expression.

Onlinecensorship.org, an EFF project allows users to report takedown notices. It has collected reports of hundreds of unjustified takedown incidents where appeals were unavailable.