It’s no secret that Facebook is facing serious scrutiny over the past few weeks. But now, there is a new, supposedly “real” oversight board set up to investigate the company, and to protect users from abuse. While it sounds like a good idea, the truth is that it’s a fake. If you’re a member of the board, you’ll be paid six-figure salaries for just 15 hours a week.
The ‘Oversight Board’ is a fake
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It’s a diverse global coalition of the most dynamic and creative voices today
If you’re a fan of social media, you’ve probably heard of Facebook’s ‘Oversight Board’. It’s a group of experts who will assess whether the social network is doing its job properly.
The Oversight Board isn’t the only group of experts Facebook will tap to assess content moderation decisions. There’s also the ‘Facebook Content Review Board’, which is a court-like entity that is tasked with determining whether or not a particular post is acceptable.
The Real Facebook Oversight Board is a multi-faceted project hosted by a group of academics. The group includes a few of the more well known names in online activism. These include former editors-in-chief of The Guardian, ex-prime minister of Denmark, and outspoken Facebook critic Derrick Johnson.
In its most recent report, the Citizens advisory board has announced its intention to scrutinize a broad swath of issues. That includes political advertising, QAnon conspiracy theories, and networks of bot activity. They also plan to review algorithms that amplify disinformation and the dissemination of’militias’ through event pages.
It pays its members six-figure annual salaries for 15 hours per week
Facebook has officially formed its Oversight Board, a new, independent body responsible for the finalization of important decisions related to the company. It is staffed with 20 members and paid six-figure salaries.
The board is staffed by academics, journalists, and civil rights advocates, among others. The board is paid through a trust financed by Facebook.
Mark Zuckerberg announced the creation of the Oversight Board in 2018. He says it is a response to intense criticism. His decision to create an oversight panel was largely motivated by the misinformation campaign that he and his team promoted and facilitated during the election of Donald Trump.
Zuckerberg said that the oversight board would allow Facebook to “offload” the responsibility of behavior on the service to an external body. Currently, the Oversight Board’s remit does not involve messaging platforms, such as WhatsApp and Instagram direct messages, but it will eventually include groups and ads.
While the board will be staffed by people of diverse backgrounds, it is overwhelmingly dominated by lawyers. Thirteen of the current 19 board members are lawyers.
In November 2016, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the creation of an internal review board, dubbed the Oversight Board, to “offload responsibility for behavior on the service.” A group of experts was appointed, including the former editor-in-chief of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman.
The Oversight Board was initially designed to address a small slice of content moderation appeals. It was a $130 million project. Members receive six-figure salaries for 15 hours per week. However, the board has not been fully transparent about how its decisions are made, and Facebook has refused to cooperate in fact-finding.
The Real Facebook Oversight Board, however, wants to change this. They want to place academic researchers back in the room to review Facebook content, and they also want to see Facebook fix its algorithm so that people can post more freely.
The real Oversight Board includes a diverse range of voices. One member is an ex-prime minister of Denmark. Another is an outspoken critic of Facebook, and another is the author of Surveillance Capitalism.