Facebook’s Oversight Board has taken up its first Indian case for review, in addition to the global cases the arbitration body announced earlier in the week.

The Indian case is about a user posting a photo in a Facebook group, depicting a man in leather armor holding a sheathed sword in his right hand. The photo has a text overlay in Hindi that discusses drawing a sword from its scabbard in response to “infidels” criticizing the prophet.

The photo includes a logo with the words “Indian Muslims” in English. The accompanying text, also in English, includes hashtags calling President Emmanuel Macron of France “the devil” and calling for the boycott of French products. Facebook said it removed the content for violating its policy on violence and incitement.

In its referral, Facebook stated that it considered this case to be significant because the content could convey a “veiled threat” with a specific reference to an individual, President Macron. Facebook referred to heightened tensions in France at the time the user posted the content.

The case has been referred by Facebook to the board. The social media giant indicated that although its policies allow it to determine a potential threat of real-world violence and to balance that determination against the user’s ability to express their religious beliefs, it was difficult to draw the line in this case.

Earlier in the week, the board said it is taking up six cases from across the world. Facebook users had submitted 20,000 suggested incidents for review since October 2020. The arbitration body is inviting the public to comment on the cases. If it opts to overrule or alter Facebook’s original actions, the firm must both publicly respond and comply.

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Among the six cases that were taken up for review earlier, one case has been withdrawn.



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