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28 May 2020

James Kariuki, Business Daily(Kenya)

Facebook's independent oversight board member urges companies to establish mechanisms to address human rights concerns

"Kiai urges firms to create boards to review operations"

Human rights crusader, Maina Kiai has urged corporate companies to create independent boards that review controversial issues eroding public loyalty to their manufactured goods and provision of services...Mr Kiai, who was recently appointed as a panelist to global IT giant Facebook’s and Instagram’s independent oversight board said companies must benchmark with their peers in seeking public feedback via such boards.

The role of such a board is to motivate the public to retain their loyalty to a product and when they feel shortchanged, one can file a complaint to be arbitrated by the review panel, free from any encumbrances that deny such a board independence when dispensing its work,” he said. Mr Kiai said such a role will see companies adopt higher standards in their operations while earning public trust crucial in driving up profits on a sustainable platform riding on community involvement, environmental conservation and contribution to the public good. “Companies have fulltime auditors but that does not stop them from hiring external auditors to scrutinise their books. The same should apply to boards where the independent review boards receive complaints from individuals and other companies regarding the company on any matter,” he said, adding that such evolution deter self-censorship that has long-term adverse effects on a firm’s corporate image...

On his new role as one of the twenty global judges sitting on Facebook’s complaints’ panel, Mr Maina said Kenyans aggrieved on posts uploaded on Facebook can in their individual, corporate or government capacity file complaints via Facebook’s complaints portal.