Alexa ‘Independent supreme court’ of Facebook

Dhaka, Tuesday   22 October 2019


‘Independent supreme court’ of Facebook

 International Desk

 Published: 10:01 PM, 18 September 2019  

Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

Facebook on Tuesday released its plans for the new ‘Oversight Board’ previously likened to a ‘Supreme Court’ that can overturn the company’s own content moderation decisions.

Oversight Board will govern appeals from Facebook users and questions from the company itself. The board will eventually consist of 40 members with three-year terms drawn from a diverse array of backgrounds, according to Facebook. Panels of five members will deliberate on cases it chooses to take. A minimum of 11 members will be required for the board to function.

Facebook said in a press release it plans to have the board in place and making decisions in early 2020.

"Facebook does not have a court," said Bernie Hogan, a senior research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute. "The only vote that really counts is the majority shareholder, Mark Zuckerberg."

"Facebook's 'supreme court' invokes all the pomp and circumstance of actual judicial practice without any of the responsibility to citizens," he added.

Facebook's primary concern is that it doesn't want the power it currently wields - or at least, it doesn't want the scrutiny that power attracts. Its ability to decide what goes on its platform, the biggest network of people ever created, brings it nothing but trouble, particularly in its home country.

One recent example demonstrates the conflict Facebook faces. An anti-abortion video, deemed to contain inaccuracies by an independent fact-checking group contracted by Facebook, was removed - only to be reinstated after four Republican senators complained to Mr. Zuckerberg personally, accusing the site of having a bias against conservative views.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg first wrote about his conception of a new body to govern the company in November of 2018 as Facebook faced mounting scrutiny over its privacy and content moderation practices. Conservative lawmakers have accused Facebook and other tech platforms of displaying ideological bias in its content removal practices. In December, The New York Times reported that Facebook’s content moderators relied on inaccurate and outdated guidelines to approve and reject flagged posts.

To create a level of independence from the company, Facebook said it will establish a trust to compensate board members. The board will be able to hire staff to support its functions, Facebook executives said on a call with reporters, but in the interim, the company has weighed the possibility of lending its own staff to get the team up and running. The board’s decisions will be binding except in cases when Facebook determines that implementing the finding would break the law.

Source: CNBC