The Oversight Board agreed to review a case related to Meta’s handling of electoral content in Brazil. In a statement, the board said it planned to examine the social network’s policies around election content in “high-risk” areas.
The case stems from a user who posted a video in early January calling on people to “harass” Brazil’s congress after the election of President Lula da Silva. The video also included excerpts from a speech by a Brazilian general, who called on people to take to the streets and government buildings. The video was reported seven times by four different users, according to the board, but it remained on Facebook even after five moderators reviewed it. Meta later opted to remove the post and issue an “attack” on the person who had originally posted it, following the Oversight Board’s decision to review the case.
Although the case is related to Brazil’s most recent presidential election, the board’s recommendations could have a far-reaching impact. “The Board selected this case to examine how Meta moderates election-related content and how it is enforcing its Crisis Policy Protocol in a designated ‘high-risk temporary location,’” the group wrote in a statement.
As the board points out, Meta’s “Crisis Policy Protocol” is a central aspect of the case. The protocol, which was made after the Oversight board intervened in Donald Trump’s suspension, allows Meta to respond to situations where there is a risk of “imminent harm,” whether offline or online. So any recommendation that addresses that policy could end up affecting election-related content around the world, not just in Brazil.
However, that result is still months away. For now, the Oversight Board is seeking public comment on various issues associated with the case before making any recommendations to Meta. The company will then have 60 days to respond, though, as usual, Meta is not required to adopt the board’s suggested policy changes.