Facebook asked its oversight board to consider halting restrictions on what it considers COVID-19 misinformation, The Guardian reported on Tuesday.
Facebook, which two years ago began taking special action on posts it considered were promoting falsehoods, wants to make the change now, "as many, though not all, countries around the world seek to return to more normal life," according to Nick Clegg, head of global affairs.
Facebook said it's turning to its oversight board, which it set up two years ago, so it won't make the wrong choice when "resolving the inherent tensions between free expression and safety."
Clegg said "we are requesting an advisory opinion from the oversight board on whether Meta's current measures to address COVID-19 misinformation under our harmful health misinformation policy continue to be appropriate, or whether we should address this misinformation through other means, like labeling or demoting it either directly or through our third-party fact-checking program."
Some critics, however, say Facebook does not need to honor the opinion of the oversight board and might be seeking cover for what is likely to be an unpopular decision with large parts of the public no matter what it chooses, according to The Guardian.
"While the board's policy advisory opinion is not binding, Meta must provide a public response and follow-on actions within 60 days of receiving our recommendations," the board said in a statement.
Clegg said in his statement: "Meta remains committed to combating COVID-19 misinformation and providing people with reliable information. As the pandemic has evolved, the time is right for us to seek input from the oversight board about our measures to address COVID-19 misinformation, including whether those introduced in the early days of an extraordinary global crisis remains the right approach for the months and years ahead."
Brian Freeman ✉
Brian Freeman, a Newsmax writer based in Israel, has more than three decades writing and editing about culture and politics for newspapers, online and television.
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