Facebook last week brought together more than 50 experts and organizations from Latin America in Mexico City “to discuss the creation of an independent appeals council that will review the most complex and controversial cases of content shared on the platform,” the company reported.
This initiative came after Facebook announced better working conditions for outsourcing employees. Currently, 30,000 people have been hired to improve the security of the social network; half of them were content reviewers.
How to moderate two billion people
While the moderation of content is a problem present in all technology platforms, the challenge of Facebook is unparalleled anywhere in the world with its two billion users. In a statement, the company said that “Facebook takes an unprecedented number of decisions on the posts that may remain on the platform and those that must be eliminated for violating our policies.”
This situation generates problems on how to react to specific contents. Many people criticized the social network for not stopping the live streaming of the New Zealand massacre, while several mothers complained about Facebook for censoring photographs where they appear breastfeeding their children for violating the policies of nudity.
Facebook said that “although we try to find the right balance between giving people a voice and keeping them safe, some of those decisions are controversial and we believe that Facebook should not take them by itself.”
The experts gathered by Facebook in Mexico City were specialists in issues of freedom of expression, technology and democracy, and human rights. They came from nine countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, and their opinion will help design an external body to solve the most difficult cases within the social network related to content moderation.
Very few people for millions of comments?
Among the concerns of this Council is the impact that could have with only 40 members. Eduardo Ferreyra, a lawyer of the Argentine NGO Association for Civil Rights that was present at the meeting, said that “the Council will decide on a tiny fraction of cases, so the impact may end up being very small.”
The Council would be the tip of the pyramid of the 14K content reviewers that Facebook currently has in 20 different countries.
“This initiative is part of our efforts to share our work more openly and transparently.”
“It was imperative to hear the ideas of Latin American experts on the design and structure that this Facebook Content Advisory Board should have. Every day we face the responsibility of keeping our community safe and at the same time giving people the freedom to express their opinions on the issues that interest them most. This Council will review some of the most controversial content decisions on Facebook, and it is critical that we receive comments from local experts as part of this process, “said Guy Rosen, Vice President of Integrity at Facebook.
The decisions of the Board will be binding and may suggest changes to the Community Rules of Facebook, which govern the platform.