An Alternative Facebook Oversight Board?

The scope of Facebook’s Oversight Board and the addition from The Citizens

Facebook has in the recent decade come under increasing scrutiny and criticism. One way it seems to address these concerns is by creating a Facebook Oversight Board.

“The Oversight Board is an entity that makes content moderation decisions on the social media platform Facebook, specifically about handling appeals for blocked or removed content.”

It was proposed in 2018 by Mark Zuckerberg and its first members were announced The 20 members of the Oversight Committee were announced on the 6th of May 2020.

It seems at the current time that the Oversight Board will not be active during the American election.

This article is about an organisation called The Citizens and their discussion about creating an alternative Facebook Oversight Board.

Furthermore, they say:

“So, instead, we’re launching our own Oversight Board. The Real Facebook Oversight Board. We’re not waiting for another election to go wrong. We believe accountability in real-time is vital.”

This group that consists of 25 people so far from academia, civil rights, politics and journalism announced this Friday that they would create an alternative Oversight Board.

Their first meeting is through Facebook Live on the 1st of October.

The actual Facebook Oversight Board is said to start operating from October.

The alternative Facebook Oversight Board (FBOB) will of course not be able to make binding decisions, however they may provide important criticism. NBC news wrote about a few of these experts from the alternative FBOB:

An impressive ensemble that will have a weekly Zoom meeting to discuss these matters.

According to NBC News Facebook has not welcomed this alternative board. A representative from Facebook (Brent Harris, Facebook’s director of governance and global affairs) seems to have attempted to dissuade some of The Citizens funders.

A company has been set up for Facebook’s own effort called Oversight Board LLC. According to NBC News this new board will be limited in the beginning:

“Facebook’s board will be restricted in scope at its launch, reviewing only content that Facebook has already taken down, rather than deliberating over controversial content the company decided to leave up.”

Given that this is the scope I do think there is a real need for The Citizens and their discussions.

October is approaching rapidly, as decision are made on social media content all over the world.

This is #500daysofAI and you are reading article 480. I am writing one new article about or related to artificial intelligence every day for 500 days.

AI Policy and Ethics at Student at University of Copenhagen MSc in Social Data Science. All views are my own.