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Meta Oversight Board to review handling of video showing unveiled woman in Iran


The logo of Meta Platforms' business group

The logo of Meta Platforms’ business group is seen in Brussels, Belgium December 6, 2022. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights

Nov 16 (Reuters) – The Oversight Board for Instagram-owner Meta Platforms (META.O) said on Thursday it was reviewing the app’s decision to leave up, remove, and then reinstate, a post that showed a man confronting a woman in Iran for not wearing the hijab in public.

The Oversight Board was created in late 2020 to review Facebook and Instagram’s decisions on taking down or leaving up certain content and make rulings on whether to uphold or overturn the social media company’s actions.

The board can issue recommendations to Meta, which are not binding, but the company has to respond to them within 60 days.

The board, which is funded by Meta but independently run, said it had chosen the post, which was put up earlier this year, to “explore Meta’s policies and practices in moderating content that could impact the ongoing protests in Iran”.

It invited the public to submit their comments on the case too, as is its usual practice.

Iran saw sporadic protests in mid-September amid a widespread crackdown by security forces a year after the death of young Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in custody set off some of the worst political unrest in four decades.

In a statement, the board said the Instagram video it was reviewing showed the face of the woman, who was arrested following the confrontation.

The accompanying caption, in Persian, indicates the user’s support for the woman and more broadly for Iranian women standing up to the regime, while also commenting on the arrest.

The board said the video had initially been flagged by AI for violating community guidelines, and sent for human review. Meta reviewers could not agree on whether there was a violation, so the post remained up until a member of the public flagged it. The post was then removed, only to be reinstated when the user who posted it said it highlighted the bravery of Iranian women, the board’s statement said.

The board said the case of the video falls within its strategic priorities that include crisis and conflict situations and gender.

Reporting by Gnaneshwar Rajan and Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru and Katie Paul in San Francisco; editing by Miral Fahmy

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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