The Facebook Oversight Board (FOB) is an independent group that investigates alleged violations of Facebook policies. It is headed by the director of Facebook’s privacy and public policy department, Elliot Spitzer, and includes Nobel Prize winners, business leaders, and others. There are currently a few controversial cases that are in the hands of the board, including a suspension of President Trump’s social media accounts. Transparency is a key principle, and the oversight board has made a commitment to it. In addition, it is also restraining the sharing of private home addresses with users.
President Donald Trump’s suspension on Facebook and Instagram
Amid calls for a permanent ban on Trump, social media companies are stepping up their enforcement of the law against misinformation. Facebook has suspended former president Donald Trump’s accounts for two years. In the meantime, the company is setting new rules for public figures in times of civil unrest.
While social networks have traditionally tried to keep politics off their sites, they now face mounting pressure to do something about Trump’s accounts. Earlier this year, Facebook began testing a “strike” system, which would allow for escalating suspensions.
The ruling is just the latest step in Facebook’s effort to regulate speech on its site. Last month, the company announced that it will no longer shield politicians from the content moderation rules.
Other controversial cases
The Facebook Oversight Board is the company’s independent body that reviews decisions to remove controversial posts from the platform. Its members include former heads of state, lawyers, journalists, human rights experts and digital rights activists.
In November, Facebook announced its creation of an independent oversight board. This new body will be in charge of all appeals from users regarding content moderation on the social media platform.
In addition to deciding how to handle controversial posts, the Oversight Board will also review the actions of Facebook employees in determining whether posts are slanderous or hate speech. Currently, the Oversight Board has ruled on six cases. Four out of five overturned the original decision by the company.
One of the cases involved the removal of a video of a Hindu nationalist organization threatening Sikhs. Another case involved a post that allegedly included a quote by Nazi propaganda head Joseph Goebbels.
Transparency is key
Among Facebook’s many policies and practices, transparency was top of mind. The company is not without its share of faux pas. A recent audit revealed that Facebook has exempted millions of accounts from basic scrutiny. To counter this, the company enlisted a gaggle of industry experts. Their collective brains are expected to deliver a hefty transparency report at the end of the month. Hopefully, these best practices will be rolled out to the rest of the Facebook family.
A more comprehensive assessment will reveal whether Facebook is on track to rewrite the rule book in the foreseeable future. If it can do so, the company may be ready for the next round of layoffs and retrenchment.
Members are Nobel Prize winners
Facebook has chosen 20 members for its new content oversight board. It’s a diverse group, including Nobel Peace Prize laureates, digital rights activists, former journalists, and other experts. These are the first people to serve on the board.
The Oversight Board is a new review body that will help Facebook make difficult decisions. It is modeled after a quasi-judicial monitoring institution. The Oversight Board focuses on a narrow slice of appeals related to Facebook’s content moderation policies.
Members of the Oversight Board include two legal scholars, one constitutional law expert, and two journalists. They are expected to hear cases from users, Facebook, and other sources. In the coming months, members of the board will decide which cases to pursue.