Image of Gender Based Violence


SEP 29, 2023


Today, the Oversight Board selected a case appealed by a Facebook user regarding a post containing a photo depicting a woman with a black eye. The post was accompanied by a caption that mocked the woman’s condition.

Meta initially left the content on the platform. Upon further review, we determined the content did in fact violate our policy on Bullying and Harassment, as laid out in the Facebook Community Standards, and was left up in error. We therefore removed the content.

Meta removes content that praises, celebrates, or mocks the medical condition of a private individual or of a limited scope public figure (the woman in the photo is identified as a limited scope public figure).

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 maintain the content on Facebook. Meta previously removed this content after finding that it was left up in error, so no further action will be taken on it.

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


Recommendation 1 (Implementing in Full)

To ensure clarity for users, Meta should explain that the term “medical condition,” as used in the Bullying and Harassment Community Standard, includes “serious physical injury.” While the internal guidance explains to content moderators that “medical condition” includes “serious physical injury,” this explanation is not provided to Meta’s users.

The Board will consider this recommendation implemented when the public-facing language of the Community Standard is amended to include this clarification.

Our commitment: We are in the process of refining our guidance around the term “medical condition” within our Bullying and Harassment Community Standards and will share our definition for “medical condition” in a planned update to our Community Standards.

Considerations: Our Community Standards share details about what users can and cannot share on Facebook, with a goal to protect user voice while also accounting for safety, dignity, authenticity, and privacy. In response to the board’s recommendation, we will clarify that the term “medical condition” includes “serious physical injury.” We will share an update on this work in a future Quarterly Update.

Recommendation 2 (Implementing in Full)

The Board recommends that Meta undertakes a policy development process to establish a policy aimed at addressing content that normalizes gender-based violence through praise, justification, celebration or mocking of gender-based violence. The Board understands that Meta is conducting a policy development process which, among other issues, is considering how to address praise of gender-based violence. This recommendation is in support of a more thorough approach to limiting the harms caused by the normalization of gender-based violence.

The Board will consider this recommendation implemented when Meta publishes the findings of this policy development process and updates its Community Standards.

Our commitment: We welcome the board’s recommendation and input as we finalize policy development related more broadly to “Praise of Violent Acts.” While our existing policies address a number of the areas the board specifies in its recommendation, we are continuing work to refine and address any unintended gaps as we finalize our approach. As soon as the work is implemented, we will publish the Policy Forum deck to our Transparency Center to give people on our platforms clarity and visibility into the process.

Considerations: We have been conducting policy development related to praise of violent acts, and, earlier this year, invited the board to attend a Policy Forum discussion related to this topic. We welcome the board’s input on how this policy relates to gender-based violence in particular. Ultimately, we are making final changes to our policy as a result of research, external engagement, and internal discussions, which includes refinements to our approach to closing unintentional gaps in our policies covering content that may praise gender-based violence.

As part of this policy development, we aimed to address enforcement of our policies towards praise of violent acts more broadly and gender based violence more specifically. Our engagements and policy development indicated that there are important speech elements in content that praises or glorifies violence in certain contexts; however, we also considered the potential safety concerns, especially as they relate to glorification of gender-based violence. In finalizing this policy development, we aim to make these policy lines clear and enforceable.

We expect to share final details of this policy development in our Transparency Center in the next year as we finalize implementation.