2. Facebook puts faces on independent Oversight Board
Facebook named the leadership for its Oversight Board Wednesday and cut the ribbons on the project, which will now operate independently of the company to handle appeals of its most thorny content moderation decisions, Axios' Scott Rosenberg and Sara Fischer report.
The big picture: The board is a first-of-its-kind internet governance body, which Facebook spent $130 million to fund.
Details: The board also named a slate of 20 members out of a projected full membership of 40 as part of its official launch.
- The membership spans the political spectrum and includes legal experts as well as people with backgrounds as human rights activists, journalists, political leaders and victims' advocates.
How it works: Users who are unhappy with a content takedown or other moderation decisions by Facebook will be able to file an appeal with the board, which will choose a handful of key cases to decide.
- Facebook says it will treat individual content judgments by the board as binding, but responsibility for implementing board decisions will rest solely with the company.
- Board members say they are committed to carefully balancing freedom of expression with other human rights, to operating transparently, and to representing global diversity.
What they're saying: On a press call before the announcement, the board's four co-chairs described their work as novel and experimental and said they expect to make mistakes.
- "It's one thing to complain about content moderation and the challenges involved in it. It's another to actually try to do something about it," said co-chair Jamal Greene, a Columbia Law School professor.
One huge challenge will be sifting through a perpetually growing pile of potential controversies to pick the few that the organization will be able to adjudicate.
History lesson: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg first discussed the idea of a Supreme Court-like independent board in April 2018 as a way to counter criticism that the company was inconsistent and unaccountable in its decisions to take content down or leave it up.
Our thought bubble: The board is full of expertise in law, free speech, and human rights. It may find itself wishing for deeper knowledge of misinformation, disinformation, and the complexities of algorithmic media.
Go deeper: Facebook's constitutional moment