Transparency Without Accountability? Fixing Facebook's Community Standards Enforcement Report

Given that Facebook’s Community Standards Enforcement Report (CSER) is considered the industry gold standard, it may seem counterproductive to criticize it. There is an argument that platforms such as YouTube or Twitter will not follow Facebook’s lead in transparency if the CSER is overly picked apart. But as Facebook prepares for a new audit of its transparency metrics it feels more important than ever to point out that the CSER provides almost no value as an accountability tool. For outsiders wishing to understand and critically assess Facebook’s enforcement of its community standards – which is nominally the idea of this transparency – there is almost nothing in these quarterly updates that would assist with a meaningful analysis. In its current form the industry ‘gold standard’ amounts to little more than transparency theatre.