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Facebook announces 20-member Oversight Board to moderate Posts, Pages and Profiles

Ankita Chakravarti     May 7, 2020

Social media giant Facebook on Wednesday announced a 20-member Oversight Board, which is also being dubbed as the "Supreme Court" of the platform. The board consists of a former prime minister, rights advocate, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and constitutional law experts. They will be responsible in taking significant decisions about the content on Facebook and its sister company Instagram.

The board will take important decisions about what be allowed on the platforms and what should be removed from the platform. They will also take cognizance of the disputes about Posts, Pages, Profiles, Groups and even Ads on Facebook. The decision to appoint a board came after CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg outlined a new blueprint for content governance wherein he stated that the social networking site alone should not make decisions about free expressions and safety on their own.

"With our size comes a great deal of responsibility and while we have always taken advice from experts on how to best keep our platforms safe, until now, we have made the final decisions about what should be allowed on our platforms and what should be removed. And these decisions often are not easy to make most judgments do not have obvious, or uncontroversial, outcomes and yet many of them have significant implications for free expression," Nick Clegg, VP of Global Affairs and Communications said in a blog.

Facebook also stated that the Oversight Board consisting of members with a lot of experience can overturn decisions taken by the company even Zuckerburg about the kind of content that would go up on Facebook and Instagram.

"They(members) have lived in over 27 countries, speak at least 29 languages and are all committed to the mission of the Oversight Board. We expect them to make some decisions that we, at Facebook, will not always agree with but that's the point: they are truly autonomous in their exercise of independent judgment. We also expect that the board's membership itself will face criticism. But its long-term success depends on it having members who bring different perspectives and expertise to bear," Facebook said in a statement.

The users, as well as Facebook itself, can knock on the doors of the "Supreme Court" in case of any breach. The board will start working immediately and will start taking cases starting this summer.

Here's the list of Facebook's first oversight board members as shared by Reuters. The co-chairs are Michael McConnell, Jamal Greene, Catalina Botero-Marino, and former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt. Other members are Asare-Kyei, Evelyn Aswad, Endy Bayuni, Katherine Chen, Night Dad, Pamela Karlan, Tawakkol Karman, Maina Kail, Sudhir Krishnaswamy among others.

Sudhir Krishnaswamy is the only Indian on Facebook's Oversight Board. He is the vice-chancellor of one of the prestigious law schools, National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore. He is also a civil society activist.


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