Meta’s Oversight Board is set to take on a new high-profile case ahead of next year’s presidential election. The board said it planned to announce a case involving a user appeal related to an “altered” video of President Joe Biden. The board didn’t disclose specifics of the case, which it said would be announced formally “in the coming days,” but suggested it will touch on policies that could have far-reaching implications for Meta.
“In the coming days the Oversight Board will announce a new case regarding a user-appeal to remove an altered video of President Joe Biden on Facebook,” the Oversight Board said in a statement. “This case will examine issues related to manipulated media on Meta’s platforms and the company’s policies on misinformation, especially around elections.”
While neither Meta or the Oversight Board has shared details about the video in question, the case could further shape the social network’s policies around AI-generated or otherwise manipulated media. Even before the rise of generative AI tools that make it easier than ever to create fake videos of public figures, Meta has taken heat over its response to suggestively edited videos of politicians. In 2019, the company declined to remove an edited clip that falsely claimed then-Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi was “drunk.”
The incident prompted the company’s current policy that bars AI-generated deepfakes, but allows some other types of edited videos to remain up. Over the last year, fact checkers have regularly debunked deceptively-edited videos of Joe Biden that often spread widely on Facebook and Instagram.
It’s not the first time the Oversight Board has weighed in on a case involving a head of state. The board previously got involved in Meta’s suspension of Donald Trump, and recently recommended Meta suspend the former prime minister of Cambodia (Meta ultimately declined to do so). When the Oversight Board agrees to a case, Meta is only required to implement the board’s decision for the specific Facebook or Instagram post in question. The board also makes a number of policy suggestions, which Meta is free to ignore, though it must provide written responses.