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Free Expression

CDT’s Comments to Facebook Oversight Board on Case Regarding the Use of ‘Media Matching Bank’ in the Takedown of a Colombian Police Cartoon

The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) submitted comments to the Facebook Oversight Board’s case, Colombian police cartoon (2022-004-FB-UA).

A cartoon shared by a user in Colombia was taken down (and has since been restored) for matching an image logged in Meta’s “media matching bank”. The Case Summary describes the Bank as a system that enables Meta to find duplicates “of content violating Facebook’s Dangerous Individuals and Organizations Community Standard.”

This suggests that the Bank consists of hashes of previously identified content that violates the Dangerous Organizations policy (rather than being a tool for detecting novel examples of content that violate the policy). This case raises questions of how this cartoon came to be included in the Bank, and what Meta’s procedures are for reviewing or allowing appeals of content’s inclusion in the Bank.

In this comment, CDT explains the likely technical underpinnings of Meta’s media matching bank, the implications of its use for user speech, and how Meta should provide more insight into its use of the Bank in its moderation system.

Read the full comments here.