Case on a Brazilian state-level health entity’s post about COVID lockdowns

UPDATED

JUN 2, 2021

Today, the Oversight Board selected a case referred by Facebook regarding a post on the Facebook page of a state-level medical entity in Brazil with a picture of a written notice on reducing the spread of COVID-19. The notice claims that lockdowns are ineffective, against the fundamental rights of the Constitution, and takes out of context a quote from a doctor at the World Health Organization (WHO) to argue that lockdowns are condemned by the WHO.

Facebook left up this content in line with our policy on misinformation and harm with regards to COVID-19, as laid out in our Help Center and Community Standards. Facebook removes misinformation when public health authorities conclude that the information is false and likely to contribute to imminent violence or physical harm. While the WHO and other health experts have advised Facebook to remove claims advocating against specific health practices, such as social distancing, they have not advised Facebook to remove claims advocating against lockdowns.

Facebook referred this case to the board because we found it significant and difficult as this content does not violate Facebook’s policies, but can still be read by some people as advocacy for only taking certain safety measures during the pandemic.

We will implement the board’s decision once it has finished deliberating, and we will update this post accordingly. Please see the board’s website for the decision when they issue it.