Facebook lost an important moderation policy for three, which led to Instagram banning a post on solitary confinement. 

According to Oversight Board that looked into the issue, it is "concerned that Facebook misplaced an internal policy exception for three years and that this may have led to many other posts being wrongly removed." 

The decision to look into the issue stemmed from Instagram's ban of a post regarding the solitary confinement of Abdullah Ocalan, a founding member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party. 

Facebook and Instagram's Ban of Post on Abdullah Ocalan

Abdullah Ocalan
(Photo : Halil Uysal from Wikimedia Commons)

Facebook's Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy has designated both Abdullah Ocalan and the Kurdistan Workers' Party as "dangerous entities" due to the group's use of violence. 

An Instagram post was published by a user in the U.S. on January 25, 2021, that encouraged conversation on Ocalan's imprisonment in Turkey. The post also wanted to encourage people to discuss talking about the inhumane practice of solitary confinement. 

The post was removed by Instagram on February 12 because a moderator deemed that it violated the Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy of Facebook. The user then appealed the decision, but a second moderator concluded that it violated the policy. 

Related Article: How Facebook Moderates Graphic Content Revealed Via Leaked Guidelines

Oversight Board's Findings on Removal of Instagram Post

According to the Oversight Board, it found out that "a piece of internal guidance on the Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy was 'inadvertently not transferred' to a new review system in 2018." 

The missing Facebook moderation rule "allows discussion on the conditions of confinement for individuals designated as dangerous."

The Oversight Board then overruled Facebook's decision to ban the Instagram post encouraging the discussion on the solitary confinement of Abdullah Ocalan. The Board also shared its concern that Facebook misplaced a very important moderation guideline for three years. 

The Oversight Board also said that misplacing the moderation rule most likely led to the wrongful removal of similar posts.

As part of its decision the Board recommended that Facebook restore the Instagram post that was at the center of the case. The Board also said that the social media platform should be more transparent with its rules and policies and that it should be made clear to Instagram users that Facebook's rules also apply to Instagram.

According to The Verge, The Oversight Board also gave other recommendations including "conducting a review process to see if any other policies were lost, as well as publicly clarifying the limits of its ban on supporting 'dangerous individuals and organizations.'"

Facebook's Response to Board's Decision

facebook
(Photo : Pixabay/geralt)
Facebook new tools

The Instagram post was eventually restored by Facebook on April 23. 

The Oversight Board also noted that while Facebook did update its Community Standard on Dangerous Individuals and Organizations after telling the Board the company would do so, the update did "not directly impact the guidance the company requested from the Board."

Facebook recently terminated the so-called "special treatment" for politicians from content moderation.

The removal of an Instagram post on Abdullah Ocalan's solitary confinement is not the first time Facebook found itself at the center of a review or research related to Instagram. Last year, Facebook was said to have ignored research findings on Instagram's racist algorithm

Also Read: Facebook to Allow Satire Posts Amidst Community Guidelines' New Policies, Misleading Meme Gets a Pass

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Written by Isabella James

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