According to the Facebook Oversight Board’s first annual report, the “Facebook Supreme Court,” also known as the Facebook Oversight Board, received more than a million appeals from users of Facebook and Instagram seeking to challenge business censorship.
Facebook ‘Supreme Court’ Hit With More Than 1 Million Censorship Appeals https://t.co/Hbjwjsgcis
— Neesie 🇺🇸 (@neesietweets) June 29, 2022
The report was released last week and details the level of censorship on the network. The Board agreed that the number of millions indicated an “enormous pent-up demand” for the right to challenge Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram censoring decisions.
The Board stated that “the volume of cases submitted speaks to the importance of the Board’s work to users.”
The Board found that more than eight out of 10 appeals concerned Facebook or Instagram’s policies on “bullying, hate speech, or violence and incitement.”
Here is the whole breakdown:
- Bullying & harassment – 32.6%
- Hate speech – 28.9%
- Violence and incitement – 22.8%
- Adult nudity and sexual activity – 7.2%
- Dangerous individuals and organizations – 4.1%
- Other – 4.4%
Only 1% of appeals came from Instagram users, with the great majority being Facebook posts.
The Board received an average of 2,649 appeals per day, with more than two-thirds of those coming from the United States, Canada, and Europe, according to the report, which can be read in full here. Just the United States and Canada contributed over half (49.4%).
Therefore, the bulk of those who think Facebook and Instagram are unfairly censoring them do so from countries in the so-called free west.
The Board emphasized the analysis’ tilt toward western nations:
We are aware that this distribution is not representative of the distribution of Facebook and Instagram users globally. For instance, only six of the top 20 Facebook-using nations in 2019 were located in Europe or North America, while India had the highest proportion of Facebook and Instagram users worldwide.
The smaller number of user appeals from users outside of Europe, the U.S., and Canada might also mean that many of those using Facebook and Instagram in other parts of the world are unaware that they have the right to challenge the Board’s decision over Meta’s content management.
The Oversight Board, a semi-independent organization with the authority to hear complaints from Facebook and Instagram users and reverse content moderation decisions, was introduced in 2020.
Due to the ideological leanings of its members, who predominately came from the liberal left, the Board rapidly drew criticism from conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic.