Facebook is to have its long-awaited oversight board ready in time for the US Presidential elections in November.

Facebook’s 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.

Oversight board

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

In May this year Facebook named members of its content oversight board that can overrule Mark Zuckerberg over objectionable content.

These members included a former prime minister, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and several constitutional law experts and rights advocates.

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

Although the oversight board expects to start reviewing content posted on Facebook in mid to late October, it is unlikely to make any rulings before the US elections on 3 November, the Financial Times reported.

This is because its rules allow for a 90-day period for the board to decide on a case and for Facebook act on the decision.

The arrival of this ‘supreme court’ for Facebook content comes at a sensitive time for the social networking giant.

Questionable content

The firm has accusations from governments and privacy groups over the content it hosts.

President Trump for example has criticised both Facebook and Twitter, alleging they have anticonservative bias and censor rightwing voices.

Facebook this week, along with Twitter and Youtube, agreed with large advertisers to outside audits of their efforts to tackle hate speech.

The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) announced the agreement on Wednesday that will see the platforms adopt common definitions and reporting standards for harmful content.

It comes after a number of civil rights groups that organised an advertising boycott of Facebook in July, due to concerns at hate speech on the platform.

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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