Facebook Names Members Of Oversight Board

Facebook has added some detail to its long-awaited content oversight board that will made the final decision about objectionable content on the social platform.

The social network had announced the oversight board in September 2019, amid concerns about the platform hosting questionable content from certain groups.

The move followed pressure from governments on tech firms to crack down on hate speech and other extremist content.

muslim militants

Facebook oversight

In January Facebook announced the first member of its independent oversight board, designed to restore faith in Facebook’s and Mark Zuckerberg’s handling of questionable content, when it appointed former human rights expert Thomas Hughes to lead the board’s administrative staff.

Hughes is former executive director for freedom of expression rights group Article 19, and oversees the board’s administrative staff.

Its first offices were said to be located in the United States and United Kingdom.

All along Facebook said the board will eventually grow to about 40 members (currently it has 20), each of whom will serve three year terms.

The Facebook Oversight Board is designed to take the decision making over content out of Facebook’s remit, and can even overrule CEO Mark Zuckerberg over objectionable content decisions.

The board is essentially designed to be a type of appeals body, through which users can challenge company decisions on controversial content.

And now Facebook has officially named the board members, which includes a former prime minister, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and several constitutional law experts and rights advocates.

Board members

Reuters noted that the board’s members have lived in 27 countries and speak at least 29 languages, though a quarter of the group and two of the four co-chairs are from the United States.

The co-chairs, who selected the other members jointly with Facebook, are former US federal circuit judge and religious freedom expert Michael McConnell, constitutional law expert Jamal Greene, Colombian attorney Catalina Botero-Marino and former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Reuters said.

Among the board members are former European Court of Human Rights judge András Sajó, Internet Sans Frontières Executive Director Julie Owono, Yemeni activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman, former editor-in-chief of the Guardian Alan Rusbridger, and Pakistani digital rights advocate Nighat Dad.

Facebook has already pledged $130 million to fund the board for about six years.

“We are not the internet police, don’t think of us as sort of a fast-action group that’s going to swoop in and deal with rapidly moving problems,” co-chair McConnell was quoted by Reuters as saying on a conference call.

The board’s case decisions must be made and implemented within 90 days, though Facebook can ask for a 30-day review for exceptional cases.

Quiz: Think you know all about Facebook?

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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