By Elizabeth Culliford
(Reuters) -Facebook users will now be able to ask the company’s independent oversight board to rule on content that has been left up on the platform, as well as what was taken down, in a key expansion of the board’s scope.
The board was created by Facebook Inc in response to criticism of its handling of problematic content, but has been faulted by researchers and civil rights groups for its limited remit.
Before this change, Facebook and Instagram users who had exhausted the appeals process could send cases of removed content to the board, but only the company itself could ask the board to review content left up on the site.
In the coming weeks, the oversight board is also expected to decide whether to uphold Facebook’s indefinite suspension of former U.S. President Donald Trump, imposed after the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riot.
The board’s rulings, which are binding and can overturn decisions by the world’s largest social media company and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, deal with only a small slice of Facebook’s content decisions. It can also recommend policy changes, but Facebook does not have to enact these.
The board said in a blog post it had received more than 300,000 user appeals since opening its doors in October. Its website says it has ruled on seven cases, announcing the first in January.
The board said the new option was being rolled out from Tuesday and would be available to all users in the coming weeks.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford; Editing by Kenneth Li, Chizu Nomiyama and Mike Harrison)