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9 May 2019

Mustafa Alrawi, The National

Facebook seeks feedback regarding independent oversight board to review content decisions

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"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.