On Thursday, the Oversight Board for Meta Platforms (META.O), the company that owns Instagram, announced that it was investigating the app’s decision to leave up, remove, and then reinstate a post that showed a man confronting a lady in Iran for not wearing the hijab in public. The confrontation occurred because the woman did not cover her head in public.
Late in 2020, the Oversight Board was created to look into the decisions Facebook and Instagram made about what content to remove or keep and to make decisions about whether to uphold or reject those decisions.
Even though the board has the authority to issue recommendations that are not legally binding, Meta must respond to them within sixty days.
The board, paid by Meta but administered independently, explained that it had picked up the role made available earlier this year to “explore Meta’s policies and practices in moderating content that could impact the ongoing protests in Iran.”
In keeping with the customary procedure, it requested that members of the general public also provide feedback on the matter.
Midway through September, Iran witnessed intermittent demonstrations amid a massive crackdown by security forces. This comes exactly one year after the murder of a young Kurdish woman named Mahsa Amini in detention sparked some of the worst political upheaval in the past four decades.
The board stated that the evaluated Instagram video revealed the face of the lady who was taken into custody after the altercation.
The accompanying caption, written in Persian, comments on the arrest while indicating the user’s support for the woman and, more generally, Iranian women who stand up to the dictatorship.
According to the board, AI-first reported the video for breaking community norms and was then sent for human assessment. Because the meta-reviewers could not reach a consensus about the existence of a violation, the content in question was allowed to stay until a member of the general public reported it. According to the statement made by the board, the message was first deleted. Still, it was restored when the user who originally uploaded it said it brought attention to the bravery of Iranian women.
The board has stated that the circumstances of the video are relevant to its strategic goals, which include crisis and conflict scenarios as well as gender.