Facebook has released a list of the first 20 members of its “Oversight Board,” a semi-independent body the social network is setting up that will have the power to decide whether content banned by Facebook stays banned or is restored on appeal. Members include the former editor-in-chief of the Guardian and a “human rights expert” who is part of George Soros’ Open Society project.
Colloquially known as the “Facebook Supreme Court,” the idea for the body was hatched by Harvard Law professor Noah Feldman, a liberal academic and one of the Democrats’ “expert witnesses” during the impeachment hearings. Also involved in the body’s development was a progressive non-profit, BSR.
The 20 members announced by Facebook today include progressive, left-wing, and mainstream media figures who have been highly critical of President Trump.
One addition is Alan Rusbridger, formerly editor-in-chief of the Guardian, the U.K.’s leading left-wing newspaper. His appointment to Facebook’s Oversight Board — and the lack of any figures from conservative media — has already drawn condemnation from Conservative Party MPs in the U.K.
Damian Green MP, a member of the U.K. Parliament’s committee on Culture, Media, and Sport, said that Facebook “fails miserably to provide confidence in its political balance.”
“Globally, Facebook is much more important than any newspaper or broadcaster, so it has a consequent responsibility to demonstrate it is open to a range of views,” he continued.
Alan Rusbridger and the Guardian are more infamous in Britain than the U.S., but the former editor-in-chief is no fan of Trump. In September 2017, he expressed his support for Robert Mueller’s “obstruction of justice” investigation against Trump.
How an obstruction of justice case may be shaping up against Trump 🙏 https://t.co/sqHTWV1DFe
— alan rusbridger (@arusbridger) September 2, 2017
The Oversight Board also includes Nicolas Suzor, who once said he “loved” an article comparing President Trump to Adolf Hitler. (Side note: for reasons unknown, Suzor has this author blocked on Twitter — perhaps damaging expectations of a fair trial by the Oversight Board if ever banned on Facebook!)
I love this! “Teen Vogue vs Trump; American Vogue vs Hitler” by Ellie Rennie https://t.co/iwLJx252r2
— Nicolas Suzor (@nicsuzor) February 9, 2017
Other members of the Oversight Board include Helle Thorning-Schmidt, former Prime Minister of Denmark for the left-wing Social Democrat party, Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei, a “human rights expert” who is part of George Soros’ “Open Society” network, Pamela Karlan, who worked in the civil rights division of President Obama’s Justice Department, and Evelyn Aswad, who served as director of human rights in Hillary Clinton’s State Department.
Concerned about how to tackle online hate speech while respecting #FreedomofExpression? ICYMI last week: the United Nations top free expression expert @davidakaye released his annual #UNGA report, which provides a principled framework to achieve this goal. #bizhumanrights #RBC https://t.co/fmAmHoXpgn
— Evelyn Aswad (@EvelynAswad) October 28, 2019
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), one of the Senate’s most vocal critics of big tech, condemned the Oversight Board as another sign that Facebook ought to be broken up.
This is how powerful @Facebook is, how much speech it controls, how much of our time & attention it claims: it now has a special censorship committee to decide what speech can stay & what should go. Facebook basically making the case it should be broken up https://t.co/EveWPZicib
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) May 6, 2020
There appears to be no major Trump-supporting figures in Facebook’s list of Oversight Board members. The closest thing it has to a conservative figure is John Samples, vice president at the largely anti-Trump, Koch-funded Cato Institute. Samples appears to be a NeverTrumper. He appeared on a podcast discussing the President’s “assault on American institutions,” and has accused the President of appearing to “oppose basic ideals underpinning liberal democracy.”
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Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.