Facebook has its own justice.
The general public discovered it on Wednesday when the social network confirmed the suspension of the account of the former President of the United States, Donald Trump, initially decided in January after the intrusion of the Capitol by several of his supporters.
But what is behind Facebook's "supervisory board", what some call the "Facebook Supreme Court"?
We must go back to 2018 to return to the origin of this "supreme" body. Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg, in a long post on content moderation published on the social network, writes that he has the ambition to "create a new way for people to appeal content moderation decisions to an independent body, whose decisions would be transparent and binding ”. The foundations of the supervisory board have been laid: it will be created in 2020.
Concretely, anyone can seize the supervisory board of Facebook, in the way in which one seizes justice.
"Individuals will be able to use the board to appeal decisions made by Facebook and Instagram about content," the board writes on its website.
Facebook has deleted one of your photos and refuses, despite your first appeal on the platform, its publication?
You can contact the supervisory board.
It is also possible to “appeal” a decision not to remove content: you have reported a publication, Facebook has rejected your report, then you can refer the matter to the supervisory board.
Members with great power
Within this supervisory board, there are several members.
They are the ones who have to decide the decisions.
To guarantee the “independence” of the institution, no one works at Facebook.
They were "carefully chosen on the basis of the diversity of their expertise and the quality of their judgment".
Distributed geographically around the world, they are associations, specialists in law, digital technology, information, politics ... We find there, for example, the former Prime Minister of Denmark Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the editor in chief of Jakarta Post Endy Bayuni or the Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkol Karman.
For France, it is the general director of Internet Without Borders, Julie Owono, who sits.
Beyond the symbolic, the supervisory board of Facebook has a power: that of going against Facebook.
"The board has the power to decide whether Facebook and Instagram should allow or remove content," the board explains on its website.
The decisions of the council are binding, unless their application is contrary to the law.
Each decision is then subject to jurisprudence.
Ten decisions issued, one for France
For example, in the case of the suspension of Donald Trump's account, the “Facebook Supreme Court” approved it, but also condemned the “arbitrary” nature of the measure, which “gives it discretionary power” over sanctions, and asked Facebook to reconsider the Trump case in six months. The former US president could therefore make a comeback in the coming months and find his millions of subscribers ...
For the moment, only ten decisions of the supervisory board of Facebook have been taken (out of more than 300,000 requests), several forcing the American company to republish deleted content. One of these decisions, issued at the end of January 2021, concerns France. A publication published in a Facebook group promoted hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin against Covid-19 and denounced a supposed scandal at the ANSM. Facebook had deleted the post but the supervisory board had canceled this decision, considering "that Facebook's rule on disinformation and imminent physical danger was unduly vague".