Facebook will establish an “oversight board,” colloquially known as the “Facebook Supreme Court,” to deliberate on whether content should be banned or unbanned on the platform.
The board was announced in a post on Facebook’s official blog yesterday.
Both Facebook and Facebook users will be able to refer cases to the board. The system for users to initiate appeals to the board will begin in the first half of 2020.
Cases to review will be selected by a case selection committee made up of board members. Once a case is selected, board members will review it and determine if outside research is needed. Board staff will also reach out to the affected user to obtain a written statement, if applicable. Board members will then make a decision on the content under review and notify the affected user. Facebook promises to share final decisions of the board publicly.
Facebook says it intends the board to be independent of the company.
- Membership: We are committed to selecting a diverse and qualified group of 40 board members, who will serve three-year terms. We agreed with feedback that Facebook alone should not name the entire board. Therefore, Facebook will select a small group of initial members, who will help with the selection of additional members. Thereafter, the board itself will take the lead in selecting all future members, as explained in this post. The trust will formally appoint members.
- Precedent: Regarding the board, the charter confirms that panels will be expected, in general, to defer to past decisions. This reflects the feedback received during the public consultation period. The board can also request that its decision be applied to other instances or reproductions of the same content on Facebook. In such cases, Facebook will do so, to the extent technically and operationally feasible.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg initially hinted at the creation of a “Facebook supreme court” to rule on “hate speech” last year. After repeated controversies over content removals, including Breitbart News’ exclusive publication of individuals on the company’s list of potential “hate agents,” it seems the company is now moving forward with the concept.
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Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.