In a massive move, tech giant Facebook on Wednesday, May 6 announced its first members of the new 'oversight board' that will take final and binding decisions on whether specific content should be allowed or removed from the social media platform. The board will also moderate content on Instagram, which is a subsidiary of Facebook.
The board was first proposed by Facebook co-founder and chief Mark Zuckerberg in 2018 after various concerns were raised about the platform's content moderation policies.
The oversight board members speak at least 29 languages, come from 27 countries and include journalists, human-rights activists, former judges, a Nobel laureate, a Pulitzer Prize winner and a former Danish Prime Minister.
"All Board members are independent of Facebook and all other social media companies. In fact, many of us have been publicly critical of how the company has handled content issues in the past. Members contract directly with the Oversight Board, are not Facebook employees and cannot be removed by Facebook. Our financial independence is also guaranteed by the establishment of a $130 million trust fund that is completely independent of Facebook, which will fund our operations and cannot be revoked. All of this is designed to protect our independent judgment and enable us to make decisions free from influence or interference," Facebook said in a press release.
There are currently 20 members on the Board and it is expected to grow to around 40 members in the future. The board will begin hearing cases later this year and users will be able to appeal in cases where Facebook has removed their content. The social media giant in the statement said that in the following months it will also add the opportunity to review appeals from users who want Facebook to remove content.
"The Board can also review content referred to it by Facebook. This could include many significant types of decisions, including content on Facebook or Instagram, on advertising, or groups. The Board will also be able to make policy recommendations to Facebook based on our case decisions," the statement added further.
Facebook first selected the four co-chairs of the Board with the assistance of recruiting specialists and outside consultants. After the selection, the four co-chairs assumed responsibility for interviewing and approving the rest of the Board, in partnership with Facebook and executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles, as per international media reports.
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