Facebook’s Oversight Board is to begin reviewing content which has been allowed to remain on the platform despite requests to remove it.
Previously the board only heard appeals from users about content they felt had been unfairly removed – or referrals which came from Facebook itself.
The board has the power to overrule Facebook’s original content decisions.
Its 20 members include former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and ex-Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger.
Anyone can submit content to the board for re-review, providing it has been reported to Facebook in the first instance.
Content eligible for appeal includes status updates, comments, videos and shares, on either Facebook or Instagram.
The person responsible for creating the original post will be told that their content has been submitted to the independent board, as well as whether any further investigation is being taken – and if so, the board’s conclusion.
However, the people who made the complaint about the post will not be identified, unless they have consented to their identity being shared.
In a blog, Facebook explained that one of the challenges of expanding the Oversight Board’s remit to include content that remained on the platform after an initial review, was how to capture the post at the point of the complaint, rather than later on when it might have been edited.
It said if multiple people reported the same content, their submissions would be grouped to form one individual case file, but their individual reasons for citing the content would be recorded.
If the board chooses to take up a case, other users will be able to submit statements to the board, up until the board begins deliberations.
Conversely, if the board decides not to hear a case, other users may still appeal that same disputed content.
“We will also inform the original poster: when their content has been submitted to the board; if the board has decided to hear the case (at which point they will have the option to submit a statement to the board to provide further context around their content); and once the board has reached a decision,” the blog states.
Users’ ability to report to the Oversight Board will be rolled out worldwide “in waves”: “We expect everyone on Facebook and Instagram to be able to appeal content left up over the coming weeks.”