Video of Communal Violence in the Indian State of Odisha


AUG 1, 2023


Today, the Oversight Board selected a case referred by Meta regarding a video posted to Facebook of communal violence in the Indian state of Odisha. The video depicts an individual throwing an object at participants of a religious procession and members of the procession retaliating by throwing stones back. The accompanying audio contains multiple calls to “beat” or “hit.” In the weeks leading up to the video, numerous violent clashes were reported between Hindus and Muslims in a number of states across India.

Meta took down this content for violating our Violence and Incitement policy, as laid out in the Facebook Community Standards, and the post was removed from our platform.

Meta referred this case to the board because we found it significant and difficult as it creates tension between our values of safety and voice.

Meta prohibits content containing “threats that could lead to death (and other forms of high-severity violence)...targeting people or places.” Although a target is not expressly identified, it is clear from the context that the intended recipient is the individual on the balcony. This is consistent with our policy, which prohibits content calling for high-severity violence even when the target is not mentioned, but is instead depicted. Furthermore, while Meta recognizes there may be value associated with attempts to notify others of impending violence and current events, Meta determined the content does not fall under any policy exception or allowance.

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.