The Oversight Board has agreed to review a case related to Meta’s handling of election content in Brazil. In a statement, the board said they planned to scrutinize the social network’s policies surrounding election content in “high-risk” areas.
The case stems from a user who posted a video in early January calling for people to “besiege” Brazil’s congress following the election of President Lula da Silva. The video also featured clips of a speech from a Brazilian general, who called for people to go into the streets and government buildings. The video was reported seven times by four different users, according to the board, but remained on Facebook even after it was reviewed by five separate moderators. Meta later opted to remove the post and issue a “strike” to the person who had originally posted it, following the Oversight Board’s decision to review the case.
Though the case is related to Brazil’s most recent presidential election, the board’s recommendations could have a more-far reaching impact. “The Board selected this case to examine how Meta moderates election-related content, and how it is applying its Crisis Policy Protocol in a designated ‘temporary high-risk 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 after the Oversight board weighed in on the suspension of Donald Trump, allows Meta to respond to situations when there is a risk of “imminent harm” either offline or online. So any recommendations that address that policy could end up affecting election-related content around the world, not just in Brazil.
However, that outcome is still months away. For now, the Oversight Board is asking for public feedback on various issues associated with the case before it makes recommendations to Meta. The company will then have 60 days to respond, though, as usual, Meta is not required to adopt policy changes suggested by the board.