Oversight Board response to Meta's announcement on reforming its penalty system
We welcome Meta’s announcement today that in response to the Oversight Board’s recommendations the company is reforming the penalty system to make it fairer and clearer. This is an important step and yet another demonstration of the Board’s impact in increasing transparency and fairness for Meta’s users.
The Board, and many civil society actors, have long raised concerns that Meta’s penalty system can be disproportionate and opaque, reflecting user concerns about being placed in “Facebook jail.” Today’s announcement was a direct response to our concerns — Meta is taking steps to reform the strikes system so that it focuses on explaining why content has been removed, provides greater transparency about the system and its penalties, and is fairer to users who have been disproportionately impacted in the past. These changes reflect recommendations made by the Board, and today’s announcement is a step in the right direction.
However, room for improvement remains. Today’s announcement focuses on less serious violations. Yet the Board has consistently found that Meta also makes mistakes when it comes to identifying and enforcing more serious violations, which can severely impact journalists and activists. That’s why the Oversight Board has asked for greater transparency on “severe strikes” and will continue to do so. The Board also believes users should be able to explain the context of their post when appealing to Meta, and that context should be taken into account by content reviewers where possible.
This is a welcome step in the right direction for Meta, and the Board will continue to push for further improvements to Meta’s content moderation policies and practices.