The Fb Oversight Board confirms it plans to start out earlier than the US elections


Mark Zuckerberg, Chairman and Founder of Facebook Inc., arrives for a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, DC, USA on Wednesday, October 23, 2019.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

LONDON – Facebook's much-anticipated oversight board has confirmed it plans to kick off before the November 3rd US election after criticizing it for an alleged lack of action.

Nicknamed the "Supreme Court" of Facebook, the board will look into complaints from Facebook and Instagram users who disagree with content moderation decisions, such as: B. Posts that are removed or flagged as misinformation. It will have the power to override decisions made by Facebook moderators and executives, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

According to a report in the Financial Times, a spokesman for the independent board of directors told CNBC that it is expected to begin in mid to late October.

"We are currently testing the newly implemented technical systems that will allow users to appeal and the board to review cases. Assuming these tests go according to plan, we expect users to be appealed in mid to late October."

They added, "Building a process that is thorough, principled and globally effective takes time, and our members have worked aggressively to get started as soon as possible."

The Oversight Board expects to make a decision on a case within a maximum of 90 days and Facebook to respond to this decision.

A spokesman for the board of directors said: "With regard to the passing of decisions at the time of the election, the board will stand ready to consider cases in any matter that is before them and is an issue for us, and it is premature to guess what the board may or may not consider until launch. Whether Facebook will send the board accelerated cases at this time is a question for Facebook. "

The social media company has been under pressure to show it is ready to deal with one of the most polarizing US elections in recent history. Experts fear that some users of the platform could try to incite violence.

The board receives cases via a content management system that is linked to Facebook's own platforms. They will then discuss the case as a group before making a final decision on whether or not the content can stay up.

Facebook announced that it would create the independent board in November 2018. It came shortly after a report was published in the New York Times detailing how the company avoided and distracted the blame in public conversation about handling Russian interference in US politics and other social areas.

At the time, the board members were said to be a diverse group of lawyers, journalists, human rights lawyers, and other scholars from around the world. They should have expertise in areas such as digital rights, freedom of religion, rights conflicts, content moderation, internet censorship and civil rights.

Notable members include Alan Rusbridger, former editor-in-chief of The Guardian newspaper, and Andras Sajo, former judge and vice-president of the European Court of Human Rights.

The oversight board could help Facebook avoid allegations of bias when removing content considered problematic. Some lawmakers and conservative speakers have said that Facebook is censoring politically conservative viewpoints, a claim the company rejects.

Facebook pledged to provide $ 130 million to its board of directors last December, with the money expected to cover operating costs for at least six years. The board of directors is being compensated for their time, even though the amount they received has not been made public.

Facebook outlined the board's bylaws in January, making it clear that the social media giant was still in control. The board's decisions do not necessarily set precedents for Facebook to follow in the future, and the board is limited in what content it can target.

The board has announced that it will publish transparency reports every year and monitor what Facebook has done with its recommendations.

A Facebook spokesman told CNBC that it has "helped" board members get up and running as quickly as possible since it was announced in May.

"This included completing a new software tool that will allow members to securely access and review case information from anywhere in the world. They were also trained in our community standards and policy development processes," they said.


Katherine Clark