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Meta Seeks Advice From Oversight Board On If It Should Continue With Its Harsh COVID-19 Policies

Now that the pandemic has moved out of its intensely worrying phase, Meta is reconsidering its policies. This is the reason why the Facebook owner is keen on getting advice from its Oversight Board on what to do next.

Meta really raised the bar in terms of announcing a number of pandemic-specific rules for users to help combat the spread of misinformation related to the COVID-19 theme. Now, the firm is reconsidering its actions and is looking toward adopting a milder approach, as the threat has shifted.

Should Meta continue implementing the same policies or should it stick to its guns? The answer lies with the Oversight Board but Meta is also adding some input in the form of various options that it feels would assist in making the process so much easier.

By the looks of it, Meta has made some suggestions that hint at a temporary stop of removing fake claims related to COVID-19. At the same time, there was some discussion about limiting the distribution of such facts or simply handing it over to fact-checkers on the platform.

Another option provided by the tech giant was to apply a set of labels on such information that would guide users to more reliable and factual sources.

Meanwhile, the company says it is more than willing to play an active role and remove some fake facts itself. However, in those circumstances where it feels the facts aren’t serving any form of harm or threatening risk, the company wouldn’t be seen actively pulling out the information.

But ultimately, Meta says that it is on the move to seek advice from the Oversight Board as the final decision rests with them and whatever the outcome may be, it would adopt it.

Nick Clegg who is the head of Global Affairs at the company says it’s a great decision to see Meta seeking advice. He also called the approach the perfect strategy to create a balance between safety as well as freedom of expression.

Clegg called it the ideal approach to mold out balance while providing an appropriate response to similar health conditions in the future. And in case you didn’t know, Meta has already taken out more than 25 million cases of fake content related to COVID-19. And this was way before the pandemic had begun.

This coupled with the firm’s own information center for such virus crises and assistance taken from authorities linked to the health sector, we’re definitely seeing Meta take a whole new approach to tackle such issues.

But the Board isn’t just restricted to pandemic-related concerns. At the moment, it’s busy looking at other matters that it calls important. This includes matters linked to a trans couple making an appeal against Instagram for ridding ‘covered up’ nudity.

While the app’s own moderators didn’t feel the content broke any policies, Meta continued to stick to its guns and removed the images. Meanwhile, the couple argues that the firm failed to justify the actions and outline where they had gone wrong.

Then came the issue of Meta being accused of censoring body images of trans individuals during a period when the healthcare, as well as rights of the trans community, are being threatened.

Then comes another case about content featuring rap music that has been banned by the UK government over fears that it promotes violence. So, as you can see, the cases are plenty and the board has certainly got its hands full.

Nevertheless, we feel that the case related to Meta adopting a change in policies would be drawing the most attention. After all, the company has long been criticized for doing nothing to fight misinformation.


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