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Article

1 May 2019

Author:
David Kaye, OHCHR

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

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"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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