Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill April 11, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Yasin Ozturk | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Facebook’s Oversight Board, an independent body that can overturn the company’s own content moderation decisions, announced on Wednesday that it will not review a controversial post from President Donald Trump that the company has refused to take down or moderate.
“How Facebook treats posts from public figures that may violate their community standards are within the scope of the Board, and are the type of highly challenging cases that the Board expects to consider when we begin operating in the coming months,” the board said in the blog post.
Trump’s post, which was published last week, addressed riots in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, saying that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Facebook employees this week protested the decision to leave the post up, arguing that it violated Facebook’s community standards, which prohibit language that incites serious violence.
Explaining its decision not to review the post, the Facebook Oversight Board said that posts like Trump’s fit the scope of the type of content that it will review, but the board is not yet operational and cannot review any cases at this time, according to a blog post.
“As an institution that announced our first members less than a month ago, and which will not be operational until later this year, we are not in an immediate position to make decisions on issues like those we see unfolding today,” the blog post said.
Facebook first announced the Oversight Board in November 2018. Since then, the company has been putting the independent body together. The company announced the Oversight Board’s bylaws in January, and in May, the board announced its first 20 members.
Before it can start reviewing cases, the board has to finish developing the case management software tool that its members will use, the blog post said. Additionally, the board is expected to announce an additional 20 members, and all of those members will need to be trained on how to review cases before the board can officially launch, the board said.
“When the Board goes operational, we will not shy away from tough decisions and intend to act without consideration of Facebook’s economic, political or reputational interests,” the board said. “We are not here to defend Facebook and will be transparent in the decisions we make and the changes we call on the company to make to protect free expression, users and society.”
The board expects to start reviewing cases later this year.