"In October 2020, a user posted a video and accompanying text in French in a public Facebook group related to COVID-19," explained the board on its website. "The post alleged a scandal at the Agence Nationale de Sécurité du Médicament (the French agency responsible for regulating health products), which refused to authorize hydroxychloroquine combined with azithromycin for use against COVID-19, but authorized and promoted remdesivir. The user criticized the lack of a health strategy in France and stated that "[Didier] Raoult's cure" is being used elsewhere to save lives. The user's post also questioned what society had to lose by allowing doctors to prescribe in an emergency a "harmless drug" when the first symptoms of COVID-19 appear."
The Oversight Board noted that the user's post did not encourage people to take HCQ without a prescription, and was instead "opposing a governmental policy and aimed to change that policy."
"The combination of medicines that the post claims constitute a cure are not available without a prescription in France and the content does not encourage people to buy or take drugs without a prescription. Considering these and other contextual factors, the Board noted that Facebook had not demonstrated the post would rise to the level of imminent harm, as required by its own rule in the Community Standards," the Board continued, adding that Facebook failed to satisfactorily explain why it removed the post, annd that their 'misinformation and imminent harm rule' is too vague - recommending that the company clarify its standards on health misinformation.
"The Board also found Facebook's misinformation and imminent harm rule, which this post is said to have violated, to be inappropriately vague and inconsistent with international human rights standards," wrote the panel. "A patchwork of policies found on different parts of Facebook's website make it difficult for users to understand what content is prohibited. Changes to Facebook's COVID-19 policies announced in the company's Newsroom have not always been reflected in its Community Standards, while some of these changes even appear to contradict them."