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Illustration: Aida Amer/Axios

Facebook is taking the next step in its effort to create an independent review board to make calls on what content should be allowed on the site.

Our thought bubble: Establishing such an oversight entity is super complicated, and the feedback shows that even experts are split over how to handle the mechanics. Also, Facebook will have to really be willing to empower the board and support its independence or it will be easily undermined. 

What's new: It's releasing a report today summarizing the feedback from more than two dozen forums and roundtable meetings over the last five months. The report focuses on three main areas: membership, content decisions, and the board's independence and governance.

Key takeaways from today's report:

  • Plenty of people wanted the board to increase its scope to include AI, privacy and misinformation, among other topics. But Facebook plans to keep the scope narrowly focused on content issues.
  • There was concern about Facebook choosing the board's members, but no consensus on a better alternative. There was also disagreement over whether board membership should be a full-time job, which could limit the applicant pool.
  • And while there was unanimity around a need for diversity, there was debate over whether all members should be active Facebook users, or at least active in social media broadly.
  • Other points of contention include how cases will be chosen for review, the board's role in establishing broader content policy, and degree of contact with Facebook staff.

What's next: The company plans to release a final version of the board's charter in August, but wanted people to be aware of the feedback it has gotten.

  • "The next step going forward is going to be to try to lock down some of these decisions, make some of these decisions over the next few months and launch this independent oversight board by the end of the year," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a video the company is releasing today.
  • Zuckerberg also defended Facebook's decision to keep the focus on content issues rather than expand to other topics, so that the effort "doesn't collapse under its own weight." But he added several times that he's open to the board's role broadening over time.

History lesson: Zuckerberg expressed a desire for some sort of independent oversight in early 2018 and offered more details in November. A draft charter was released in January.

  • Meanwhile, in an interview at the Aspen Ideas Festival on Wednesday, Zuckerberg defended the company's decision to leave up a doctored video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but admitted other actions could have been taken sooner.

Go deeper: Facebook's constitutional moment

Go deeper

13 mins ago - Health

FDA advisory panel endorses Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Cezary Kowalski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday recommended the authorization of Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot coronavirus vaccine for emergency use.

Why it matters: The FDA is expected to make a final decision within days on the J&J vaccine, which was found to be 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID. An emergency use authorization would allow distribution to immediately begin, helping streamline and speed up the vaccine rollout across the U.S.

Dave Lawler, author of World
15 mins ago - World

Schiff: "Definitive" Khashoggi report sends clear message to Saudis

Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

The report released Friday on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was short on evidence or new information, but Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) tells Axios that the “definitive” statement assigning responsibility to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) speaks volumes.

What he’s saying: Schiff, the chairman of the House intelligence committee, says that while some intelligence couldn’t be published because of the need to protect sources and methods, “we rarely see something published that is this definitive and I think that's an important accomplishment for the administration.”

Exclusive: Law enforcement organizations back Biden pick for assistant AG

Vanita Gupta Photo: Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Local and federal law enforcement officials are backing Vanita Gupta, President Biden’s nominee for associate attorney general, according to letters sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee and obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The Major County Sheriffs of America noted Gupta “emphasized that she does not support efforts to ‘defund the police'” and highlighted her desire to improve criminal justice through methods that include increased training for law enforcement officials.