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Jennifer
Jennifer
6 Min Read

The Facebook Oversight Board is a panel of individuals with expertise in Internet privacy who review Facebook and advise the company on how to protect its users’ data. In addition, it has the power to fine-tune Facebook’s policies, if necessary. This is an important function, as the company’s popularity has increased rapidly over the past few years. It can be difficult for individuals who use Facebook to know what privacy settings to set, so the oversight board is a helpful tool.

Overview

Facebook’s new Oversight Board has been a work in progress since April 2018, when CEO Mark Zuckerberg hinted that such a review body was on his to-do list. The company is now in the process of hiring its first twenty members, with another 40 members scheduled to join in the near future. They are now tasked with investigating and recommending changes to 26 platform rule cases.

Facebook has been quick to react to the Board’s recommendations, which have led to upgrades in the form of better explanations for what constitutes as spam and automated censorship. For example, the company has introduced a new test to measure the impact of automation on content. In addition, the company has announced the launch of the aforementioned social good fund that will provide funding to charities dedicated to enhancing safety and privacy on Facebook.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a perfect platform. This is why Facebook created the Oversight Board in the first place, and is now using its findings to improve the quality of the service it provides to its billion users. While the company’s approach hasn’t solved all the social challenges, it has made a lot of progress.

Duties

The Oversight Board is a private company that Facebook has set up to review and evaluate content policies. The board is a group of 20 experts from around the world. Each of the members serves a three-year term.

The organization’s charter explicitly sets out the task it has to balance the fundamental human right to privacy with free expression. It’s an experimental structure at the cutting edge of rule of law. Some reports have compared it to an international human rights tribunal.

An independent research institute supports the board’s work by providing expertise on the socio-political context of its decisions. This institute is based at the University of Gothenburg and is supported by more than 50 social scientists on six continents.

The board has produced written opinions that are easily accessible in different languages. These include case summaries and detailed explanations of board decisions. They also feature standardized sections that allow for quick reference to key aspects of each decision.

The Oversight Board has examined 20 cases so far. Of those, 11 have been reversed. However, the board retains the discretion to accept or reject cases. In exceptional circumstances, it can extend the time limit for a review.

Frequently asked questions

The Oversight Board is a legal entity and is responsible for analyzing content moderation decisions based on international human rights laws. As a legal matter, it is not a substitute for domestic courts. In fact, the board has to make its own decision in cases where it decides to refer the matter to a higher authority.

It was not long ago that Facebook unveiled its Oversight Board. This small, but mighty board is meant to bolster the social network’s core values of transparency and honesty. Specifically, it’s designed to be a third party with a unique set of eyes and ears. Basically, Facebook will look at the best practices and etiquette of the community to decide whether to allow or nix certain types of content.

Although the Oversight Board has been around for some time, its first formalized slate of members was announced in May. Its initial triumvirate is Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Michael McConnell, and Jamal Greene. They will serve three-year terms, and each will be given their own special powers. Aside from the obvious, a few of the members will be known to be experts in their fields.

Conclusion

One of the most exciting aspects of the Oversight Board is its ability to draw in the brightest and the best. For instance, the board has been entrusted with $130 million in the form of a trust. Among its responsibilities are the financing, governance, and oversight of the Oversight Board.

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