Reporting on Pakistani Parliament Speech

UPDATED

JAN 10, 2024

2023-038-FB-MR

Today, January 9, 2024, the Oversight Board selected a case referred by Meta regarding a video posted to the Facebook Page of a news channel that posts information and news about the city of Karachi, Pakistan. The video shows an address to the National Assembly of Pakistan by a politician from Balochistan. Within the wider speech, the politician states that conditions will not improve until “50 generals, 50 politicians, 50 judges, 50 bureaucrats are hanged.” The caption and text overlay of the video call out this quote with the caption adding that the politician’s speech “Shook the doors and walls of the National Assembly.”

Meta determined that the content did not violate our policy on Violence and Incitement, as laid out in our Facebook Community Standards Facebook Community Standards, and left the content up.

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.

While under our Violence and Incitement policy Meta removes statements advocating for high-severity violence, these statements are allowed if they are made in an awareness-raising context. When viewing the post holistically, a number of considerations led Meta to determine that the post intended to raise awareness of the politician’s remarks. Additionally, Meta also determined that the politician’s statements themselves likely do not contain a specific threat. This is because the reference to hanging officials is made as part of a comparison to “sacrificing the creature” to calm the flooding of the Nile, which suggests political hyperbole rather than actual threat.

Alternatively, even if the content was not explicit enough to qualify for the awareness-raising carve out under our Violence and Incitement policy, we would likely have allowed it to remain on our platform because it is newsworthy since the public interest value of the content outweighs the risk of harm. The public interest value of the content is high for several reasons including that the speech was delivered to call out a number of issues of public interest, and that the speech highlighted the military's role in politics and demanded accountability from the military.

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.