Facebook to reinstate post feared to incite Muslims to violence

A free speech watchdog says the post does not pose an imminent threat

FILE - In this Oct.17, 2020 file photo, a poster reading "I am Samuel" and flowers lay outside the school where slain history teacher Samuel Paty was working, in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, northwest of Paris. French lawmakers tackle a bill on Monday to dig up radical Islam by its roots in the country, beliefs that authorities maintain are creeping into public services, associations, some schools and online with the goal of undermining national values. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)

Facebook has been ordered to reinstate a post it had taken down amid accusations that it encouraged Muslims to violence.
The Oversight Board, an international watchdog set up to monitor Facebook's handling of posts that spark complaints of hate or abuse, said the post did not pose an imminent threat.
France's relations with its Muslim population has been tense since teacher Samuel Paty was killed after he discussed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in class.
The Facebook post was uploaded to an online group for Indian Muslims and included hashtags that called Mr Macron the devil and urged a boycott of French goods.

The board said human rights standards allow for people to express ideas and opinions, even those that "may be controversial or deeply offensive", as well as offence "at such expressions".
Facebook initially ruled the post violated its violence and incitement community standards.
On Friday, a majority of the Facebook-funded independent group disagreed.

"A majority found that, for this specific post, Facebook did not accurately assess all contextual information and that international human rights standards on expression justify the board's decision to restore the content," the group said in a statement.
Facebook said it would reinstate the content within seven days.
"While a minority viewed the post as threatening some form of violent response to blasphemy, the majority considered the references to President Macron and the boycott of French products as calls to action that are not necessarily violent," the board said in its ruling.
"The majority interpreted the post as criticising [Mr] Macron's response to religiously motivated violence rather than threatening violence itself. The board notes that its decision to restore this post does not imply endorsement of its content," it added.