An independent Facebook supervisory board has ruled in its first five cases that Facebook made a wrong decision four times by removing posts from its social media.

It is the first time that Facebook's supervisory board has published rulings.

The body was created by Facebook after criticism of the way the company removes messages if they violate the rules according to the platform.

According to the council, Facebook was wrong in the following matters

  • The decision to remove a message about how China is dealing with the Uyghur Muslim minority, including a photo of Syrian drowned toddler Alan Kurdi.

  • The decision to remove an Instagram photo showing a woman's nipples with the aim of drawing attention to breast cancer symptoms.

    Facebook has already returned to this decision.

  • The decision to remove a message from a quote incorrectly attributed to Nazi Germany propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.

  • The decision to delete a message with a video in which a French user criticized the health authorities.

The supervisory board is critical because Facebook's rules are vague.

For example, the French user's message was removed due to the disinformation policy and the risk of direct health damage.

But because the rules are unclear, it is difficult for users to figure out exactly what is and what is not allowed.

In the case of the quote wrongly attributed to Goebbels, the message was removed because it would glorify 'dangerous persons'.

But Facebook has not been clear that the user must explicitly distance himself from such a person in such a message, according to the council.

There is also no list of people on this list and the company does not explain exactly what 'praise' and 'support' means for these people.

According to the council, Facebook was in its right in this case

  • The decision to remove a post for hate speech, because a dehumanizing term for Azerbaijans was used in Russian.

The council's rulings are binding: Facebook must abide by the judgment to recover the four posts.

Users can turn to the supervisory board if they believe that Facebook is taking action that violates freedom of expression and that all other objection procedures have failed.

After requesting a response, Facebook refers to its blog, where the company says that in addition to the Instagram photo of the nipples, which had already been restored, two other messages have also been returned.

The company also pledges to be more transparent about its health information policy.

But, the company notes, the current approach to fighting misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic will not change.