The 19 Facebook oversight committee is a sub-committee of the United States Federal Trade Commission, which is investigating the practices of Facebook. It is responsible for determining whether and how Facebook’s policies and procedures violate the law, and how Facebook can be made more effective. As part of its work, it is conducting an investigation into whether or not the company’s policies are consistent with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which states that a company’s activities may not be detrimental to human rights.
Removing online content is allowed under Article 19 para. 3 of the ICCPR
The ICCPR’s Article 19 sets a high bar for free expression. While the law prohibits censorship, it also protects the public from speech that is a threat to national security or public order. In its simplest form, this means that any government restriction on speech must have a legitimate purpose. This entails a limited number of criteria for determining which measures are appropriate.
The most notable rule is that governments and social media companies are not the only players in the free expression space. For example, Australia and the UK both reserve the right not to introduce laws aimed at curtailing hate speech. Although they may be out of the running for the title of most restrictive state, their actions show a respect for the principles of the ICCPR.
In addition to the ICCPR, Facebook has adopted a conclusory interpretation of Article 19, and a public policy to monitor compliance with the rules. This requires Facebook’s Oversight Board to evaluate publicly available policies and make decisions about whether Community Standards are aligned with freedom of expression.
Efficacy of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19
Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is a derivative of chloroquine, which is used to treat malaria. It is also an antiviral in vitro. HCQ has been proposed as a treatment for coronavirus disease. However, there are still many questions about its effectiveness and safety.
One study investigated hydroxychloroquine’s efficacy in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. In this trial, 7513 participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups: usual care and treatment with hydroxychloroquine. The groups received either hydroxychloroquine or a placebo for a total of fifteen days. A comparison of the two groups showed no statistically significant differences.
Another study, the ProPAC-COVID trial, was a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The participants were laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patients. Hydroxychloroquine was administered as a single agent or in combination with azithromycin.
The results were published in the BMJ. According to the authors, 12% of the participants who took hydroxychloroquine developed COVID-19 symptoms. Patients who were prescribed hydroxychloroquine had faster viral clearance. Nevertheless, they were still at increased risk of death.
Possible side effects of hydroxychloroquine
The question is, how safe is hydroxychloroquine? Hydroxychloroquine is a potential risk to patients as it has not yet been proven effective in treating the COVID-19 pneumonia that it is intended to treat. Nevertheless, the hydroxychloroquine – a cocktail of antiviral drugs – was administered to a randomly selected group of community-dwelling patients in the Alberta health system. Its safety was evaluated via administrative data and telephone follow-up.
Although the hydroxychloroquine did not obliterate mortality, the drug did reduce the odds of death by a metric ton. This was a hefty feat considering that only 4266 of the 11,197 participants were diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2. During the pandemic, the public health system was able to track all confirmed infections.
A randomized controlled trial was conducted in Alberta during the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic. Researchers assigned the lucky 1561 patients to a placebo and a hydroxychloroquine group, respectively. A randomized controlled trial is not without its risks. One participant, for example, stopped taking the study drug within three days and subsequently recovered, while another had no measurable effect.
Human rights concerns
The Facebook Oversight Board has ruled in six cases. These decisions will have an enormous impact on freedom of expression and human rights. Among the issues facing the board are whether to allow the sharing of photos of deceased children and hate speech.
In addition, the board must decide whether to let former President Donald Trump return to Facebook. After the Capitol riots, he was suspended from the site. However, his suspension was not a violation of free speech rules. Nevertheless, there are some human rights concerns about the decision.
A user in Myanmar posted a picture of a dead Muslim child on the social networking site. According to Muslim advocates, the post is a violation of international human rights laws. It seeks to draw attention to alleged hypocrisy in Muslim States.
Another user questioned the ethics of prescribing remdesivir, a drug used in the treatment of coronavirus. According to the Agence Nationale de Securite du Medicament, hydroxychloroquine, which is sold as a harmless drug in other countries, is not authorized for use in France.