News Documentary on Child Abuse in Pakistan


JUL 12, 2024


Today, February 27, 2024, the Oversight Board selected a case referred by Meta regarding a video posted to the Urdu language Facebook Page of an international news broadcaster. The video appears to be excerpts of a documentary about a Pakistani serial killer who sexually abused and murdered more than 100 children in the 1990s. The caption makes clear that the video is being shared to condemn and raise awareness of the issue. The video at multiple points depicts newspapers and photographs that show the faces of unnamed children victims.

Upon initial review, Meta left this content up. However, upon further review, we determined the content did in fact violate our policy on Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Nudity as laid out in the Facebook Community Standards, and was left up in error. We therefore removed the content.

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

Despite the fact that the imagery appears to have been taken from old newspaper articles and the events in question are more than 20 years old, we err in favor of removing victim imagery even under these conditions due to the substantial risk of harm still posed to the victims and their families.

We will implement the board’s decision once it has finished deliberating, and 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, May 14, 2024, on this case. The Board overturned Meta's decision to take down the content from Facebook. Meta will comply with the Board's decision and reinstate the content within 7 days.

After conducting a review of the recommendations provided by the Board, we will update this post with initial responses to those recommendations.


Recommendation 1 (Assessing Feasibility )

To better inform users when policy exceptions could be granted, Meta should create a new section within each Community Standard detailing what exceptions and allowances apply. When Meta has specific rationale for not allowing certain exceptions that apply to other policies (such as news reporting or awareness raising), Meta should include that rationale in this section of the Community Standard.

The Board will consider this implemented when each Community Standard includes the described section and rationales for exceptions that do and do not apply.

Our commitment: We will consider updates to our Community Standards to provide more clarity regarding relevant allowances that may apply to specific policy sections and rationales for why they do or do not apply. Given the broad and complex scope of this recommendation, we expect that this work will take time.

Considerations: Due in part to Board recommendations, in the past year we have updated a number of Community Standards and internal guidance with streamlined definitions and policy overviews in an effort to clarify our policies. We spoke to these efforts to harmonize policies in our most recent Quarterly Report, particularly our efforts to align definitions across various policies to create more efficient and clear internal guidance for policy enforcement, and continue to make progress updating our Community Standards in line with this work.

We will consider ways in which we can provide greater clarity to our Community Standards, including more clarity around which allowances might apply for each section. In considering this, we want to balance our aim of providing accessible information and transparency around our policies with comprehension and clarity of our policies. Given the complexity of these considerations, we expect this initial scoping work to require time, and will provide updates in future reports to the Oversight Board.