Facebook ‘Oversight Board’ to Monitor Content Decisions
Facebook’s 2.4 billion monthly active users will soon be able to appeal takedown decisions to a new “oversight board” that its CEO once likened to a “Supreme Court” that will have the power to override the company’s own content-moderation decisions, Facebook announced Sept. 17.
“If someone disagrees with a decision we’ve made, they can appeal to us first, and soon, they will be able to further appeal this to the independent board,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a letter, according to Ars Technica. “As an independent organization, we hope it gives people confidence that their views will be heard and that Facebook doesn’t have the ultimate power over their expression.”
The plan emerged after critics have complained for years that the Menlo Park, California-based company highhandedly engages in ideological viewpoint-discrimination, particularly against conservatives, often without clearly explaining the reasons for its decisions.
Facebook has made takedown decisions that have been intensely criticized. For example, in 2018, it removed the Declaration of Independence, claiming it was hate speech. The New York Times reported in December 2018 that Facebook’s content moderators used inaccurate and obsolete guidelines to decide whether to remove flagged posts.
President Donald Trump held a social media summit at the White House on July 11 to meet with conservatives upset about their views being censored in social media. Previously he wrote on Twitter that “Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!”
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission imposed a record $5 billion fine on Facebook in July for misleading users about personal data-privacy policies. The FTC and several states have also initiated antitrust investigations into Facebook’s business practices.
Photo credit: The social networking site Facebook is displayed on a laptop screen in London, England, on March 25, 2009. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
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