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Meta Extends Its Oversight Board to Now Check Threads

Meta's independent oversight board now monitors content moderation on Threads, allowing users to appeal decisions like Facebook and Instagram.


Meta's content moderation policies have been under fire for years, and now its newest app, Threads, will also face the scrutiny of its independent watchdog, the Oversight Board. The board announced today that it will review cases from Threads users who are unhappy with Meta's decisions on issues such as content removal or account suspension.

The Oversight Board's co-chair, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, said in a statement that expanding the board's scope to Threads is crucial for ensuring accountability and transparency for the new app. “The Board's expansion to Threads builds on our foundation of helping Meta solve the most difficult questions around content moderation. Having independent accountability early on for a new app such as Threads is vitally important,” she said.

The Oversight Board was first envisioned by Meta's CEO, , in 2018, as a way to address the growing criticism and controversy over Meta's content moderation practices. The board's bylaws were proposed in January 2020, and the first members were announced in May. The board started reviewing cases in October 2020, and in 2021, it began to examine Meta's decisions to leave certain content up, not just take it down.

The board has made some significant rulings in its short history, such as rebuking Meta for banning former President Donald Trump indefinitely, without providing clear criteria for such a sanction. The board also urged Meta to revise its inconsistent and unclear rules on fake videos, such as and cheapfakes.

Threads' moderation woes

Threads, which launched in July last year, is Meta's attempt to create a more intimate and private social network, where users can share photos and videos with their close friends. However, the app has also faced several questions and complaints about its moderation policies.

Earlier this month, Threads said that it was running a fact-checking program, and some posts were labeled as false or misleading. However, the company later clarified that this was because it was matching existing fact checks from Meta's other platforms to posts on Threads. Meta said that it planned to launch a separate fact-checking program for Threads, but it has not yet decided which fact-checkers will be involved.

Meta has also been adamant that Threads will not recommend or promote political content or news, as he believes that this would undermine the app's purpose of fostering personal connections. However, Meta said last week that its new trending topics feature on Threads could include political content, as long as it does not violate the company's policies.

The challenges ahead

The Oversight Board's co-chair, Catalina Botero Marino, said that content moderation is becoming more difficult and urgent, as the world faces various challenges and opportunities. “With conflicts raging in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere, billions of people heading to the polls in global elections and growing abuse towards marginalized groups online, there is no time to lose. Advances in artificial intelligence can make content moderation even more challenging,” she said.

She added that the board is committed to finding solutions that balance freedom of expression and harm reduction, and to setting standards that will improve the online experience for millions of Threads users.

How to appeal to the Oversight Board

The process for appealing to the Oversight Board on Threads is the same as on and . A user has to first appeal to Meta, and if they are not satisfied with the outcome, they can appeal to the board within 15 days. The board can take up to 90 days to review the case and issue a ruling. The board's rulings are binding on Meta, unless they violate the law or endanger public safety. The board can also issue recommendations, which are not binding, but Meta has to respond to them publicly.

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.

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