Tracking Global Online Censorship
Tracking the impact of content moderation on freedom of expression worldwide.

How To Appeal

Most social media platforms allow you to appeal decisions made about your content—though what you can and can't appeal may differ from company to company. This is a brief explanation of the options available to you and how decisions are made inside each company.

Twitter Appeals

What can users appeal?

Users can appeal permanent account suspensions or locked accounts, loss of access to live features on Twitter such as audio and video streaming, and tweet-level violations of the Twitter Rules.

Twitter responds to copyright complaints submitted under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) and also submits copyright complaints to Lumen, with personal user data redacted. Users can appeal decisions made under the DMCA by filing a counter-notification. For information on copyright related takedowns, see here.

Twitter has a variety of enforcement options, which may apply to accounts, direct messages, or tweets. Twitter may limit a Tweet’s visibility (in search results, replies, and timelines), require a user to delete a Tweet, or hide a violating Tweet while awaiting user action. Users can appeal cases where Twitter requires a Tweet to be deleted.

At the account level, Twitter may require media or profile edits if it is found to be violative of the policies, or place an account in read-only mode, which limits its ability to tweet or engage with content. Twitter may also temporarily lock accounts pending verification of ownership with a phone number or email address. Permanent suspensions will remove an account from global view. 

Enforcement options for non-violating content include placing a tweet behind a notice or withholding access to content in a particular country.

For more information on enforcement options, visit this page.

How can users appeal?

Users can appeal an account suspension or locked/limited accounts via the platform interface or by filling out this form.

In the case of Twitter requiring a Tweet to be deleted, Twitter will send the user an email notification. The user can then appeal to Twitter through directions provided within the email if they believe Twitter staff made an error in judgment.

Users may file a DMCA counter-notification by replying to the original email notice sent by Twitter and including the following information.

  • A physical or electronic signature (typing your full name will suffice);
  • Identification of the material that has been removed or to which access has been disabled and the location at which the material appeared before it was removed or access to it was disabled (the description from the copyright notice will suffice);
  • A statement under penalty of perjury that you have a good faith belief that the material was removed or disabled as a result of mistake or misidentification of the material to be removed or disabled; and
  • Your name, address, and telephone number, and a statement that you consent to the jurisdiction of the Federal District Court for the judicial district in which the address is located, or if your address is outside of the United States, for any judicial district in which Twitter may be found, and that you will accept service of process from the person who provided notification under subsection (c)(1)(C) or an agent of such person.

Upon receipt of a valid counter-notice, Twitter will promptly forward a copy to the person who filed the original notice. This means that the contact information that is submitted in a counter-notice will be shared to the person who filed the original notice. 

If the copyright owner disagrees that the content was removed in error or misidentification, they may pursue legal action. Twitter advises users to be sure that they have a good faith belief that their material was removed in error, and that they understand the repercussions of submitting a false claim.

What happens next?

Each appeal is reviewed by a member of the support team manually. Wherever possible, Twitter will have localized team members review culturally specific content.

What can users do if their appeal is denied?

In most cases users will be able to fully access their account and data even if it has been suspended—Twitter will fully disable accounts only in egregious cases of abuse. If a user would like their suspended account deactivated, they need to file a request for it to be deactivated.

Instagram Appeals

What can users appeal?

Content (posts, comments, stories, for example) removed from Instagram or accounts disabled for violation of the Community Guidelines are eligible for appeal. Accounts that repeatedly violate the Community Guidelines or Terms of Use may be permanently removed without option to appeal.

Instagram says users can request a review in ‘most circumstances.’ Certain types of content removals are not eligible for appeal, but Instagram is ‘adding more options.’

How can users appeal?

Users can appeal removal decisions (content and account disablements) via the in-app reporting function, which can be found under ‘settings.’ 

If a user’s account is deactivated and they believe the decision to be a mistake, they can appeal the decision by filling out this form

If content was removed because of a copyright report, users will be sent instructions on how to file a DMCA counter-notification. They can additionally submit an appeal through the Copyright Appeal Form. The process may take up to 14 days. For more information on copyright related takedowns, see here.

What happens next?

Instagram says it will ‘usually’ review non-copyright-related appeals within 24 hours. 

What can users do if their appeal is denied (non-copyright takedowns)?

If users disagree with a review decision, they may appeal to the Facebook Oversight Board. The Board only selects certain cases for review from among eligible submissions.

TikTok Appeals

What can users appeal?

Per TikTok, users are notified about decisions made on the basis of TikTok’s Community Guidelines and can appeal if they believe no violation occurred. 

TikTok also complies with the notice and takedown procedures defined in section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”). Users targeted by a DMCA notice can file a DMCA counter-notification. For information on copyright related takedowns, see here.

Creators who violate the TikTok Creator Fund eligibility criteria or Community Guidelines may be temporarily suspended or permanently banned from the TikTok Creator Fund. They can appeal their suspension or ban from the TikTok Creator Fund.

How can users appeal?

Accounts that have been banned will receive an in-app banner notification of the ban. Appeals for banned contents and removed content may be submitted via platform interface.

Users can also submit further feedback using this form.

Users can file a DMCA counter-notification using this form.

Creators who have been suspended or banned from the TikTok Creator Fund can use the platform interface (by tapping the in-app ban notification) to share more details and submit an appeal.

What happens next?

Once an appeal is submitted by a creator, the TikTok support team will review the appeal and follow up with an in-app notification.

Temporary suspensions for creators last 30 days. If a creator is suspended from the TikTok Creator Fund, their posted videos won't be eligible to accrue funds, and they won't be able to withdraw funds. After the 30-day suspension, they'll receive a notification that lets them know the suspension has ended.

Permanent bans result in the inability to continue to participate in the Creator Fund. Creators that are banned and have funds that weren't withdrawn yet will be able to withdraw their funds.

What can users do if their appeal is denied?

There is no information on what users can do if their appeal is denied or if their account is permanently banned (restricting access to the in-app reporting function). Creators can reach out to TikTok support via email for assistance.

Tumblr Appeals

What can users appeal?

Tumblr does not guarantee appeals on all content removals. If Tumblr concludes that users have violated their guidelines, they may receive a notice via email. Failure to explain or rectify will result in action against the account and repeated violations of Community Guidelines may result in permanent blog or account suspension. Tumblr notes that it reserves the right to suspend accounts or remove content, without notice for any reason—without the possibility of appeal.

Users are, however, able to appeal most content flagged as “adult.” 

How can users appeal?

When user content is removed, or a blog or account is terminated as the result of a Community Guidelines violation, users may receive an email notification and are advised to ensure that the email address associated with their account is up-to-date.

Users whose content is flagged as “adult” (on the basis of a mix of machine-learning and human moderation) or whose blogs are marked as explicit will receive a notification in two places:

  • On a banner on the flagged content.
  • In an email with links to review your flagged posts.

Users may then request that content they believe was incorrectly flagged be reviewed for a classification appeal. These reviews are conducted by human reviewers. Posts deemed to have been correctly flagged as adult will be reverted to a private setting viewable only by the poster.

Only original posters of content can appeal flags; reblogs of flagged content are not appealable. Furthermore, content that has already been reviewed by “trained experts” and deemed to violate the Community Guidelines cannot be appealed.

Users can also appeal when materials are removed on the basis of a copyright or trademark claim by filing a DMCA counter-notice. To do so, the user must write by mail to the designated agent listed below. For more information on copyright related takedowns, visit here.

Tumblr, Inc. (Automattic)

60 29th Street #343

San Francisco, CA 94110

Attn: Copyright Agent

What happens next?

Users will receive an email once the review for appeal – conducted by humans – is completed. In the meantime, they can monitor the status of their appeals in the ‘review flagged posts’ section of their blog settings.

What can users do if their appeal is denied?

Appealed decisions are final. If content has already been reviewed, it cannot be appealed and will say so in the banner on the post.

YouTube Appeals

What can users appeal?

Users can appeal strikes issued for content that allegedly violates YouTube’s Community Guidelines. (Strikes that involve copyright infringement claims use a different process, detailed here.) Deleting the video for which a strike was issued will not remove the strike from the user’s account. A strike, as used by many platforms, is an abuse moderating practice used for the purpose of managing abuse reports, particularly those against repeat offenders. YouTube strikes expire after 90 days. When a YouTube user receives three Community Guideline strikes within 90 days, YouTube will terminate the user’s YouTube accounts and remove all videos. These users can still avail themselves through the appeals process.  

How can users appeal?

YouTube will issue strikes when staff reviewers determine that content is in violation of YouTube community guidelines. Staff is alerted to possible violations by either a complaint made by an external party or by YouTube’s “smart detection technology.” If a strike is issued, YouTube says users will be notified via email, mobile and desktop alerts, and a note in the user account’s channel settings upon their next sign in to YouTube.”

To appeal, go to your Dashboard in the Creator’s Studio. Open the “Channel violations” card and select “appeal” from there. 

Sometimes, videos go down for violations without a strike or other penalty. To appeal that removal, sign into your account and go to the YouTube Studio. From the menu on the left, choose “content.” Find the video whose removal you want to appeal, and click “appeal” after hovering over the restriction type listed in the “restrictions column.” 

What happens next?

After users submit an appeal, they will receive an email from YouTube notifying the user of their appeal result. If YouTube finds that the content was removed in error, the video will be restored and the strike will be removed from the user’s account. If YouTube upholds their original decision, the content will remain deleted and the strike will remain on the user’s account. In some cases, YouTube may decide to restore the content, but keep the content behind an age restriction. In this case, the strike will be removed from the user account.  

What can users do if their appeal is denied?

Users can appeal each strike only once. 

All information in this appeals process was independently verified with YouTube and we will endeavor to keep it as up to date as possible. Changes may be made to these procedures over time, however, so if any information you’re given seems different from what we’ve outlined here, please check the policy page of YouTube (and let us know!)

Facebook Appeals

What can users appeal?

Users can appeal “the vast majority of violation types on Facebook,” with the stated exception of “extreme safety concerns, such as child exploitation imagery.” Users can appeal the removal of content (including posts, videos, photos, comments), accounts, Groups, and Pages. For copyright related takedowns, see here).

How can users appeal?

Facebook says it will notify users when content violations are removed. This notice will typically appear in your News Feed when you log into Facebook, and also in your Support Inbox.

With this notification, users will be given the option to request review or accept the decision. If a user chooses to request a review, the content will be submitted to another reviewer to determine whether it not it follows Facebook’s Community Standards. In some cases as of May 2021, however, Facebook may only give the option to “disagree with decision” rather than request review because of reviewer availability.

Facebook will also notify users when their account is disabled. Users will see a message when they try to log in, along with details about whether a review can be requested. If the account was disabled for a Community Standards violation, users can also submit more information here within 30 days. After 30 days, the account will be permanently disabled and no longer eligible for review.

Page or Group admins will be notified of a decision to take down or suspend a Page or Group, and can request review through the notification or submit a report. Admins of Groups that have been taken down for Community Standards violation will not be able to create any new groups “for a period of time.” Facebook makes changes to its Groups policies quite frequently.

With regard to copyright, Facebook complies with the notice and takedown procedures defined in section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”). When Facebook removes content in response to reports of DMCA violations, the company will send a notification to users informing them that the content has been removed, and will provide information about the report and reporting party. Users may be told how to contact the reporting party if they believe the content was removed in error and, where applicable, are provided information about how to contest the removal. 

Users can submit a DMCA counter-notification by using this form and must explain why they believe their content should be restored. Facebook does not provide information on when users will receive a response to counter-notifications.

What happens next (non- DMCA takedowns)?

Facebook states it will usually review non-IP-related content removal appeals within 24 hours. The content will remain unavailable to other Facebook users while it’s going through review. 

After this, if the reviewer agrees with the original decision, the content remains off Facebook. However, if the reviewer disagrees with the initial review and decides it should not have been removed, the content will go to a third reviewer. This reviewer's decision will determine whether the content should be on the service or not.

What can users do if their appeal is denied (non-copyright takedowns)?

If a user still does not agree with the reviewers’ decision, they may be able to appeal to Facebook’s Oversight Board. Instructions for determining whether or not a decision is eligible, and for requesting Oversight Board review, are here. Otherwise, there is currently no recourse from denial of an appeal for removal of a piece of content, an account, a Page, or a Group.

[<Oc::Section> Twitter Appeals, <Oc::Section> Instagram Appeals, <Oc::Section> TikTok Appeals, <Oc::Section> Tumblr Appeals, <Oc::Section> YouTube Appeals, <Oc::Section> Facebook Appeals]