The Economist February 1st, 2020 pp57 Online Governance “A Court of Public Opinions”. “Facebook prepares to hand decisions about contentious content to an independent arbiter”.
Facebook (FB) is creating an independent oversight board to objectively rule on content it has blocked. Some have high hopes for this board while others see it as FB trying to fend off further regulation. FB has hired a dozen mostly lawyers from government, media and consultancies. Over the last year, this mostly female board has received input from more than 2,500 people attending 60 workshops around the world. The board has a trust-fund budget of $130,000,000 for over three years, will have a staff of more than 30 and their own independent website to receive and review submitted appeals. Interestingly, “The board is expected to consider no more than a few dozen cases a year compared with 1.4m posts Facebook declined to restore in the first quarter of 2019 alone”. The blocked content is pornography (~50%), abusive speech (~40%), violence and graphic content (~4%), drugs and firearms (~4%) and terrorist propaganda (<1%). The board will rule on posts and pictures but not pages or groups and their decisions will be based on vague community standards and not existing law. FB must comply quickly with any ruling. Read the article for more detail.