Meta's Oversight Board Announces New Case for Consideration from India
The Oversight Board of Meta said that it will be considering a fresh case from India and will encourage individuals and groups to make public comments. It further stated that it prioritizes situations that could have a significant impact on a large number of users globally, are crucial to the public conversation, or raise major issues with Meta's policies.
The India case has been referred to the board by Meta and involves a sexual harassment video uploaded on its photo and video sharing app Instagram.
In March this year, an Instagram account describing itself as a platform for Dalit perspectives posted a video from India showing a woman being assaulted by a group of men. The woman’s face is not visible. The text accompanying the video states that a tribal woman was sexually assaulted and harassed by a group of men in public and that the video went viral. The account has around 30,000 followers, primarily located in India.
Meta called in this case to the Board to demonstrate the challenge in striking the appropriate balance between allowing content that condemns sexual exploitation and the harm in allowing visual depictions of sexual harassment to remain on [its] platforms.
The board says that it will decide to issue a policy recommendations to Meta. While recommendations are not binding, Meta must respond to them within 60 days. As such, the board welcomes public comments proposing recommendations that are relevant to this case.
The board said it would appreciate public comments that address whether Meta’s policies and enforcement practices, including its newsworthiness allowance, appropriately balance protecting users from potentially harmful content and allowing users to raise awareness. It also invites comments that provide insights into the socio-political context affecting the treatment of Dalit and Adivasi individuals and communities, particularlythat women. "These insights may address any relevant power dynamics, practices of physical and social segregation and discrimination, and how existing hierarchies may be reproduced digitally," the board stated.
Comments on the role of social media in raising awareness of and condemning sexual exploitation and other harmful acts against people from marginalized communities in India and the harm caused by allowing visual depictions of sexual harassment to remain on Meta’s platforms, even if the victims cannot be recognized or identified are also welcome.
The board says that it will decide to issue a policy recommendations to Meta. While recommendations are not binding, Meta must respond to them within 60 days. As such, the board welcomes public comments proposing recommendations that are relevant to this case. The public comment window for the case is open for 14 days and closes on Thursday, September 29.