In January 2022, an Instagram account that describes itself as publicising British music posted a video with a short caption on its public account. The video is a 21-second clip of the music video for a UK drill music track called Secrets Not Safe by the
rapper Chinx (OS). The caption tags Chinx (OS) as well as an affiliated artist and highlights that the track had just been released. The video clip shows part of the second verse of the song and fades to a black screen with the text OUT NOW. Drill is a
subgenre of rap music popular in the UK, with a large number of drill artists active in London.
Shortly after the video was posted, Meta received a request from UK law enforcement to remove content that included this track. Meta
says that it was informed by law enforcement that elements of it could contribute to a risk of offline harm. The company was also aware that the track referenced a past shooting in a way that raised concerns that it may provoke further violence. As a
result, the post was escalated for internal review by experts at Meta.
Meta's experts determined that the content violated the Violence and Incitement policy, specifically the prohibition on coded statements where the method of
violence or harm is not clearly articulated, but the threat is veiled or implicit. The Community Standards list signs that content may include veiled or implicit threats. These include content that is shared in a retaliatory context, and content with
references to historical or fictional incidents of violence. Further information and/or context is always required to identify and remove a number of different categories listed at the end of the Violence and Incitement policy, including veiled threats.
Meta has explained to the Board that enforcement under these categories is not subject to at-scale review (the standard review process conducted by outsourced moderators) and can only be enforced by Meta's internal teams. Meta has further explained that
the Facebook Community Standards apply to Instagram.
When Meta took the content down, two days after it was posted, it also removed copies of the video posted by other accounts. Based on the information that they received from UK
law enforcement, Meta's Public Policy team believed that the track might increase the risk of potential retaliatory gang violence, and acted as a threatening call to action that could contribute to a risk of imminent violence or physical harm, including
retaliatory gang violence.
Hours after the content was removed, the account owner appealed. A human reviewer assessed the content to be non-violating and restored it to Instagram. Eight days later, following a second request from
UK law enforcement, Meta removed the content again and took down other instances of the video found on its platforms. The account in this case has fewer than 1,000 followers, the majority of whom live in the UK. The user received notifications from Meta
both times their content was removed but was not informed that the removals were initiated following a request from UK law enforcement.
In referring this matter to the Board, Meta states that this case is particularly difficult as
it involves balancing the competing interests of artistic expression and public safety. Meta explains that, while the company places a high value on artistic expression, it is difficult to determine when that expression becomes a credible threat. Meta
asks the Board to assess whether, in this case and more generally, the safety risks associated with the potential instigation of gang violence outweigh the value of artistic expression in drill music.
In its decisions, the Board
can issue policy recommendations to Meta. While recommendations are not binding, Meta must respond to them within 60 days. As such, the Board welcomes public comments proposing recommendations that are relevant to these cases.
article from oversightboard.com