Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Facebook Oversight Board announced Thursday that some Facebook and Instagram users can now submit appeals to the Oversight Board for an independent review of their own content removals.

Why it matters: The board, a first-of-its-kind internet governance body, will begin hearing cases from users ahead of the U.S. election.

  • Facebook can also begin to refer important cases to the Board for them to weigh in.
  • In some cases where there are national security or real-world consequences to content decisions, Facebook can send expedited requests for the Board to review.

Details: On a call with reporters Thursday, members from the Oversight Board explained how their review process will work and the timeline around it.

  • How it works: Users can submit appeals through the Oversight Board's website beginning Thursday. The board, independently from Facebook, will decide which cases to review. Groups of Board members will review cases, with at least one Board member from the region a case is submitted present.
  • Timeline: The rollout begins Thursday for users globally. Due to scale, it will rollout in waves. For now, users can only appeal their own content removal cases. In coming months, users can file appeals about other people's content that they want removed.
  • How cases are picked: Helle Thorning-Schmidt, co-chair of Facebook's Oversight Board said "very few'" cases will actually be heard, due to time and resource constraints. The Board will try to select cases that are representative of a broader set of cases to maximize the impact of their decisions. The Board will try to honor precedents made in previous decisions when evaluating new cases.
  • How cases are decided: The Board must come to a conclusion within 90 days or earlier. Decisions will be posted publicly to their website for the public to see. The Board will select cases to take on and will assign members of the Board to panels to review the cases. There will be around 3 panels working at a time.
  • How Facebook will react to decisions: Facebook has agreed to consider any policy recommendations made by the Board. "Our expectation is that Facebook understands the Boards' decisions to be binding on similar content that it's reviewing independently of the Board," said Jamal Greene, a constitutional law expert and Oversight Board member.

The big picture: The Board is designed to operate fully independently, but it has financial and technical support from Facebook.

  • On the call, Brent Harris, head of strategic initiatives at Facebook, said that the company has built a case management tool for the Board to use that will allow The Board to securely review user appeals with privacy in mind.
  • Facebook spent $130 million to fund to fund the Board through an independent trust.

Be smart: Even before its launch, the Board has faced scrutiny from Facebook critics that don't trust the Board to alone provide enough pressure to hold Facebook accountable for its content moderation policies.

  • Board members on the call Thursday said they expected their decisions to be scrutinized, and that they welcome public debate around them.

What's next: In the coming weeks, the Board will be able to share details about which cases it is considering and it will open up a public commenting period to support the Board's deliberation process.

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Technology

Big Tech is outsourcing its hardest content moderation decisions

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Faced with the increasingly daunting task of consistent content moderation at scale, Big Tech companies are tossing their hardest decisions to outsiders, hoping to deflect some of the pressure they face for how they govern their platforms.

Why it matters: Every policy change, enforcement action or lack thereof prompts accusations that platforms like Facebook and Twitter are making politically motivated decisions to either be too lax or too harsh. Ceding responsibility to others outside the company may be the future of content moderation if it works.

App rush: Talent over trash

Data: Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Amid the sea of pollution on social media, another class of apps is soaring in popularity: The creators are paid, putting a premium on talent instead of just noise.

The big picture: Creator-economy platforms like Patreon, Substack and OnlyFans are built around content makers who are paid. It's a contrast to platforms like Facebook that are mostly powered by everyday users’ unpaid posts and interactions.

Jan 29, 2021 - Technology

Facebook seeks a new head of U.S. public policy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook is looking externally for a new U.S. policy chief as it moves Kevin Martin, a Republican who now holds the job, to a different position, per a memo seen by Axios.

Between the lines: Facebook is moving on from the Trump era in which Republicans held most of the power in Washington and Facebook was particularly eager among tech companies to forge warm relations with GOP policymakers.