In an interview with Vox’s Ezra Klein, Mark Zuckerberg says he is exploring the option for Facebook users to independently appeal to the content moderation team if their content gets taken down for violating community policies. The CEO likens the appeal process to Facebook operating more like a government, with the goal of creating a network that “reflects more what people in the community want than what short-term-oriented shareholders might want.”
Currently, Facebook only allowed appeals for content that was removed for violating copyright laws, and they must be filed through a United States Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) counter-notification. In Zuckerberg’s vision, the ability to independently appeal should be available like “any good-functioning democratic system.” The process would operate similarly to Periscope’s “flash jury,” where viewers are randomly selected and polled on whether a reported comment is abusive.
“So maybe folks at Facebook make the first decision based on the community standards that are outlined, and then people can get a second opinion. You can imagine some sort of structure, almost like a Supreme Court, that is made up of independent folks who don’t work for Facebook, who ultimately make the final judgment call on what should be acceptable speech in a community that reflects the social norms and values of people all around the world,” Zuckerberg says. “I think we can build that internally as a first step.” The CEO did not make clear whether this would also apply to reported posts that Facebook did not find in violation of community standards, but can be still be considered inappropriate.
Facebook routinely surveys users on community policies and general platform questions, though it recently got in trouble for “mistakenly” allowing users to answer positively to seeing child pornography on the site. Currently, Facebook identifies three categories of inappropriate community content: adult nudity and sexual activity, hate speech, and violence and graphic content.
In the interview, Zuckerberg also defends Facebook’s ad-supported model, saying that, unlike Apple’s handling of user privacy, there are many users who cannot afford to pay. “That doesn’t mean that we’re not primarily focused on serving people,” he says. “I find that argument, that if you’re not paying that somehow we can’t care about you, to be extremely glib ... [I]f you want to build a service which is not just serving rich people, then you need to have something that people can afford.”
The full interview, available in an edited transcription and a podcast, is available here.