Jul 22, 2022 - Technology

Meta provides another $150 million in funding for its Oversight Board

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Meta on Friday said it approved a new three-year, $150 million commitment to fund its global content oversight board, which it has designed to be independent and provides money for via a separate trust.

Why it matters: The board was created to help Meta make tough calls on content moderation, but the group's power has been challenged at times by the company's unwillingness to outsource some of its decisions.

  • For example, in May, Meta withdrew its earlier request for policy guidance from the board on its content moderation decisions related to Russia's war in Ukraine — a move the board called "disappointing."

Yes, but: In other instances, the company has proven willing to heed the policy recommendations from the board.

  • While all of the board's decisions are binding, its policy recommendations are not. Still, Facebook is required to respond to those recommendations, and has at times agreed to implement some changes.

Catch up quick: In creating the Oversight Board in 2020, Meta established a first-of-its-kind internet governance body.

  • The board received its first round of $130 million in funding from Meta, called Facebook at the time, in 2019.
  • That funding, in addition to the new round, was transferred from Meta into an Oversight Board Trust, which allows the board to operate as a separate entity, independent from Meta.
  • The board began hearing appeals from users in 2020 and has in several cases forced Meta to overturn previous policy decisions.

What to watch: Facebook referred its decision to indefinitely suspend former President Trump to the Oversight Board in January 2021. The board upheld Facebook's decision but told the social media giant to rethink the ban's "indefinite" nature.

  • In response, the company said it would ban former President Trump from its platform for two years, and announced new policies for how it will handle speech from prominent politicians moving forward.
  • Meta is expected to announce whether it will bring Trump back after the two-year suspension next year, the year before the 2024 presidential election.
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