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Facebook calls for input on proposed oversight board to review content moderation decisions

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17 September 2019

Facebook releases charter explaining structure & governance of Oversight Board

Author: Facebook

"Establishing structure and governance for an independent oversight board," 17 Sept 2019

... We’re announcing more details on the structure of the Oversight Board and its relationship to Facebook in the form of a charter. This central governing document defines the board’s mandate and describes its relationship to Facebook... We often received a key piece of feedback: make sure the board is independent from Facebook. One way we’re addressing this is by establishing an independent trust. The Oversight Board, the trust and Facebook will have separate roles and responsibilities... Both Facebook and its users will be able to refer cases to the board for review. For now, the board will begin its operations by hearing Facebook-initiated cases. The system for users to initiate appeals to the board will be made available over the first half of 2020.

22 May 2019

Commentary: Facebook's Oversight Board needs a broader mandate that integrates human rights principles

Author: Laura Reed, Medium

Ranking Digital Rights has submitted a set of recommendations in response to Facebook’s call for feedback on its Draft Charter for its recently proposed Oversight Board — an independent body to which people can appeal Facebook’s content moderation decisions. Facebook has come under intensifying fire for the range of ways that its platform has been used to incite violence and spread disinformation campaigns — as well as for the lack of transparency around how it develops and enforces its Community Standards. The 2019 RDR Corporate Accountability Index... revealed that Facebook’s grievance and remedy mechanisms... were among the weakest of any company in the RDR Index... Our recommendations submitted to company representatives this week highlight the need for Facebook to clarify the Oversight Board’s role in implementing the company’s commitment to respect human rights... We also stress the need for the Oversight Board to contribute to the company’s human rights impact assessment process... David Kaye, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, submitted a letter to Mark Zuckerberg urging Facebook to include human rights principles in the Board’s review standards.

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9 May 2019

Facebook seeks feedback regarding independent oversight board to review content decisions

Author: Mustafa Alrawi, The National

"Why Facebook liked the idea of asking for help in deciding what to publish," 09 May 2019

There have been revelations of how Facebook was used to manipulate voters in elections in the United States and elsewhere, criticisms over the lack of oversight of how its own users’ data is being protected, and pressure to stem the proliferation of hate-fueled content on its platforms... Facebook has responded in the past year, and among its responses is the creation of an independent oversight board of experts to review its content decisions... “The company is embracing a wider set of approaches for how it operates. Our CEO Mark [Zuckerberg] had a comment on the earnings call recently where he talked about how, for when we launch products now that touch societal issues, we are going to go out and consult on them and think in advance about how to build them,” says Brent C Harris, Director for Global Affairs and Governance at Facebook... "I believe you will see the company do this more and more."

... While the board would deliberate on the way Facebook handles specific pieces of content, the company will set policy... “A lot of the matters that will go before the board are the hard questions of trade-offs between those principles and trying to figure out for a specific piece of content, where do you set that line? That line is a hard one at times to figure out,” according to Mr Harris... Much is still up in the air until the consultations are completed and the process for the development of the board is completed by the end of this year. The number of members could range from between 20 to 100 experts and will be a quite diverse group of people from across the world.

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1 May 2019

Civil society groups say draft charter should provide more clarity on role & power of oversight board

Author: Global Partners Digital & 23 other civil society organizations

We, the undersigned, welcome the consultation on Facebook’s draft charter for the proposed oversight board...The board should play a meaningful role in developing and modifying policies...To ensure independence, the board should establish its own rules of operation...The draft charter does not, however, set out much detail on the role and powers that this staff will have. The final charter should provide clarity on the role and powers of this staff, including how Facebook will structure the board to maintain the independence of the board and its staff...At present, issues can only be raised to the board via Facebook’s own content decisionmaking processes and “Facebook users who disagree with a decision”...it is important that there also be a way for individuals to be able to influence problematic policy and raise concerns directly to the board... According to the Draft Charter, “the board...will be made up of a diverse set of up to 40 global experts”. While it is important for this board to reflect a diversity of disciplines, it is also integral that it reflects a diversity of global perspectives including different regional, linguistic and cultural perspectives from the various countries in which Facebook operates...it should seek to demonstrate transparency and be held accountable for its content-related practices...should issue a transparency report that provides granular and meaningful data including statistical data on the number of posts and accounts removed and impacted.

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1 May 2019

UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression calls for oversight board's review standards to integrate human rights law

Author: David Kaye, OHCHR

"Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression," 01 May 2019

I am writing to provide preliminary reactions to Facebook’s initiative to create an Oversight Board for Content Decisions... I would strongly encourage that the Board’s review standards integrate international human rights law, the absence of which is concerning... A substantial portion of the draft charter reflects on the need to safeguard the independence of the Board and its decision-making. While this is encouraging, I urge Facebook to consider how human rights standards concerning judicial independence and other forms of external oversight may inform the composition, governance and decision-making authority of the Board... I am, however, concerned that the draft charter preserves the authority of Facebook to remove members if they are deemed to have “violated the terms of his or her appointment.”... I urge Facebook to provide the board with fact-finding capacities and resources that will enable it to effectively assess whether content decisions are in line with international human rights standards... Transparency should lie at the heart of all of the board’s activities, from its founding to its selection process, governance and decision making....I am particularly concerned about the use of artificial intelligence and related technologies to moderate and curate content, in ways that “invisibly supplant, manipulate or interfere with the ability of individuals to form and hold their opinions or access and express ideas in the information environment.”

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1 April 2019

Facebook opens public consultation process regarding design of Oversight Board

Author: Brent Harris, Facebook Newsroom

"Getting Input on an Oversight Board" 01 April 2019

Every day, teams at Facebook make difficult decisions about what content should stay up and what should come down based on our Community Standards. But given the size of our community — and the reach of our platform — we don’t think we should be making all of these decisions on our own. Today, we’re opening a public consultation process to help us answer questions around the design for this Oversight Board. This is another part of our ongoing, global engagement with a wide range of organizations, think tanks and researchers to determine how best to empower this entity to render independent judgment on some of Facebook’s most important and challenging content decisions... Responses will be accepted for the next six weeks.... In June, we’ll publish a report summarizing what we’ve learned through these submissions and in the broader conversations we’re having...To share your opinion and perspective, go here.

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28 January 2019

Facebook releases draft charter outlining role of oversight board for content decisions

Author: Nick Clegg, Facebook Newsroom

"Draft charter: An oversight board for content decisions," January 2019

[W]e have come to believe that Facebook should not make so many...decisions on its own — that people should be able to request an appeal of our content decisions to an independent body. [W]e are creating an external board...a body of independent experts who will review Facebook's most challenging content decisions...It will share its decisions transparently and give reasons for them. The board will be able to reverse Facebook’s decisions about whether to allow or remove certain posts on the platform. Facebook will accept and implement the board's decisions...The board will be made of experts with experience in content, privacy, free expression, human rights, journalism, civil rights, safety and other relevant disciplines. The list of members will always be public...The primary function of the board is to review specific decisions we make when enforcing our Community Standards...Board decisions are binding on the specific content brought for review and could potentially set policy moving forward.

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