Oversight Board Selects Case Regarding a Video that Appears to Show the Mistreatment of Armenian Prisoners of War by Azerbaijani Soldiers


MAY 3, 2023

Today, the Oversight Board selected a case referred by Meta regarding a video on a Facebook page that shows men in military uniform, apparently Armenian soldiers, being beaten and mocked by another group of men wearing different military uniforms. The post includes a caption claiming that the perpetrators are Azerbaijani soldiers. While this could not be verified, the speech and imagery in the video make it likely that it depicts Azerbaijani soldiers mistreating Armenian prisoners of war.

Meta determined that the content violated our Coordinating Harm and Promoting Crime policy, as laid out in the Facebook Community Standards, but decided that the newsworthiness allowance applies and left the content up with a warning label.

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

Meta generally prohibits content that identifies prisoners of war. However, we know that there can be a compelling public interest in allowing people to share content of prisoners in degrading conditions to bring attention to potential violations of international humanitarian law. In this instance, we determined the content is part of a body of important evidence that has allowed human rights groups and independent investigators to document events. Since we decided that our Violent and Graphic Content policy also applied, we applied a warning label to this content.

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.