The independent Oversight Board on Wednesday overturned Facebook’s decision to remove a comment in which a supporter of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny called another user a “cowardly bot.”
Facebook removed the comment for using the word “cowardly,” which was construed as a negative character claim.
The Board found that while Facebook’s removal of the content may have been consistent with a strict application of the Community Standards, the Community Standards fail to consider the wider context and disproportionately restricted freedom of expression.
“While the removal was in line with the Bullying and Harassment Community Standard, the current Standard was an unnecessary and disproportionate restriction on free expression under international human rights standards. It was also not in line with Facebook’s values,” the Board argued.
Last week, the Board overturned Facebook’s decision to remove a comment intended to criticize the Turkish government.
The board, constituted by Facebook with 20 members from across the world, last month upheld Facebook’s decision on January 7 to suspend then US President Donald Trump from its main platform and Instagram.
While the Board concluded that Trump should have been suspended from Facebook and Instagram, it also found that Facebook failed to impose a proper penalty.