Oversight Board Selects Case Regarding A Veiled Threat of Violence Based on Lyrics from a Drill Rap Song


NOV 22, 2022

Today, the Oversight Board selected a case referred by Meta regarding an Instagram post that contained a video and text caption referencing a UK drill rap song.

In it, the rapper refers to a rival gang and a shooting incident in which the group was involved. Meta removed the content because it contained a veiled threat of violence that violated our policy on Violence and Incitement, as laid out in the Instagram Community Guidelines and Facebook Community Standards.

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

Meta prohibits threats of violence on our platforms in order to prevent potential offline harm. This includes “veiled threats,” which are coded statements where the method of violence or harm is not explicitly articulated. It can sometimes be difficult to assess whether lyrics are exaggerated claims of aspirational violence or a genuine threat of violence.

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.

Case decision

We welcome the Oversight Board’s decision today on this case. The board overturned Meta’s original decision to remove the content from the platform. Meta will act to comply with the board's decision and reinstate the content where possible.

In accordance with the bylaws, we will also initiate a review of identical content with parallel context. If we determine that we have the technical and operational capacity to take action on that content as well, we will do so promptly. For more information, please see our Newsroom post about how we implement the board’s decisions.

After conducting a review of the recommendations provided by the board in addition to their decision, we will update this page.