The parent company of Facebook Meta Platforms is establishing a customer service department to assist users of its social networks whose posts or accounts have been unexpectedly deleted.

These efforts are in their early stages and have been given greater priority by feedback Meta has received from the Oversight Board, an independent body created by the company in 2020 to review some of its decisions regarding questionable or problematic content. The board has received more than a million complaints from users, many of them related to account support.

“How do we provide customer care and service and respond to why their content was removed or why their accounts were removed?” said Brent Harris, Meta’s vice president of management, who confirmed that improving Meta’s customer service is something they “spend a lot of time on.” He did not provide details on how the group will interact with users.

Meta, which has more than three billion users across social networks including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, has a notoriously poor customer service. The problem has been compounded as the company relies more heavily on artificial intelligence to make content moderation decisions, which sometimes results in mistakenly automatically deleting user accounts or posts with little explanation.

Both regular users and small business advertisers often complain that a locked, suspended or hacked account is almost non-existent. The company offers automated tools to try to recover the account, but it’s difficult to get in touch with a person who actually works at Meta. Instead, users sometimes message employees or journalists directly asking for help.

The Supervisory Board has given Meta more than 100 official recommendations since its inception, including proposed policy changes and requests to translate the company’s rules into more languages.

Supervision

Improving customer service wasn’t a formal recommendation, but the Oversight Board helped shine a light on the issue as part of the broader feedback it provides to Meta, Harris said. Of the formal recommendations issued by the board, Meta has implemented or reviewed 73% of them, according to a quarterly report released by the company on Thursday.

The report also included some new details about Meta’s exemption from newsworthiness. The company has long allowed some newsworthy posts, such as those from world leaders, to remain on the service even if they violate the rules — a policy Twitter also follows — but has never said how often the policy is used.

Meta said it cited the informational exemption 68 times in the 12 months ended June 30, and 13 of those times were “issued for content posted by politicians.” Meta did not include a complete list of posts that received an exception.

The Supervisory Board, although not part of Meta, is created and funded by the company. CEO Mark Zuckerberg wanted an outside body with the authority to review Meta’s performance and reverse its decisions if necessary. — (c) 2022 Bloomberg LP

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