Meta’s Oversight Board: Dangerous diet videos can remain, but please demonetize them

Meta’s Inspection Board announced Today it upheld the company’s decision to remove two posts detailing a Thai woman’s fruit-only diet. However, the board recommended that the company restrict the monetization of similar “extreme and harmful diet-related content” on Facebook because researchers continue to do so. wrestle with Regarding the relationship Between social media and eating disorders.

The Oversight Board’s decision describes videos that were posted from the same account in late 2022 and 2023 – and were flagged as harmful by users. The clip features “content on life, culture and food in Thailand”. In both problematic videos, a man interviews a woman in Italian about her experience with a “fruit juice only diet.”

This decision reflects the relative impact of the video. “In the first video, the woman says that since starting the diet she has experienced increased mental focus, improved skin and bowel movements, happiness and a ‘feeling of lightness,’ while she also shares that she previously She was suffering from skin problems and swelling in her legs. The board’s summary reads. “She raises the issue of anorexia but says her weight has returned to normal, having initially weighed 10 kilograms (22 pounds) due to changes in her diet. ) was reduced by more than .

The second video, posted about five months later, tells the woman’s story, asking how she felt because of her dangerous diet for almost a year. “She responds by saying that she looks young for her age, that apart from ‘four kilos of impurities’ she hasn’t lost any more weight, and she encourages him to try the diet.” To make matters worse, she told the interviewer that she planned to become a “fruitarian” after completing the fast, also adding that she might begin a “pranic journey”, which would involve her not eating regularly or Describes it as “living on energy” rather than drinking.

Collage of headshots for members of META's oversight board.  A series of circular images show black and white headshots for each of the 20 members.
Meta’s Inspection Board

The video has received over two million views and over 15,000 comments. The post also shared details about the woman’s Facebook page, which saw a significant increase in engagement after the second post. “Based on research conducted by the Board, the woman’s Facebook page has 17,000 followers and contains content about the woman’s lifestyle, including her diet,” the board wrote. Both the content creator and the woman’s Facebook page were part of Meta’s partner monetization program, allowing them to profit from potentially harmful advice.

After users reported the video, Meta’s human reviewers determined that the post did not violate Facebook’s Suicide and Self-Injury Community Standard. He continued to be seen on Facebook. Individual users for each video appealed the decision to Meta’s Oversight Board.

The board’s decision not to remove the video was based more on its belief that the content was harmless, lacking specific violations of the suicide and self-injury community standard. Specifically, the videos do not provide “instructions for drastic and unhealthy weight loss when shared with words associated with eating disorders,” nor do they “promote, encourage, coordinate, or provide instructions for eating disorders.” Are.” Even the woman’s mention of an energetic “pranic journey” was determined to be “descriptive in nature” without any mention of weight loss.

The board recommended Meta adjust its monetization policies to “better meet its human rights responsibilities” related to “harmful diet-related content.” The majority of the board considers the current authorization of this material to be “specific and of concern”.

“Health and communications experts have noted the ability of influencers to use direct narrative styles to ensure high engagement with their content – ​​coupled with the ubiquity of wellness influencers – it is important that meta Creating this type of content should not provide financial gain,” the board wrote.

Some board members believed that demonetizing this type of content was a step too far. The Board wrote, “For a minority of the Board, since demonetization could have a negative impact on expression on these issues, Meta should explore whether demonetization is the least intrusive means of respecting the rights of vulnerable users.” Is.” Meanwhile, another minority believes that demonetization does not go far enough. “For a distinct minority of board members, demonetization is necessary but not sufficient; She believes META should additionally restrict extreme and harmful diet-related content to adults over the age of 18, and require a label on content to include reliable information on the health risks of eating disorders. Other solutions should be explored.

meta They say Since the board upheld Meta’s decision to drop both posts, it will “take no further action related to this bundle or content.” The company says it will review the demonetization recommendation. A spokesperson for Meta told Engadget that it would respond to “their full recommendations in our transparency center” within 60 days.

This article was originally published on Engadget

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