- In late 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced an enthusiastic strategy: to produce an independent oversight board that could overthrow Facebook’s material small amounts guidelines, and even Zuckerberg himself.
- The board is independent from Facebook, but Facebook is moneying the board’s operations to the tune of $130 million.
- If users think their content was eliminated from the service unfairly or without cause, they can appeal to the independent board straight.
With over 2 billion users, Facebook has a significant small amounts problem on its hands.
Whether you’re speaking about the platform’s usage by Russian government-backed giants in the 2016 United States Presidential election, or to spread propaganda throughout the 2016 Rohingya genocide, or when a shooter livestreamed a mass shooting in New Zealand, Facebook has actually faced moderation problem after moderation concern across the previous couple of years.
And the company is aware of the enormity of its issue. ” One of the most painful lessons I’ve discovered,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in late 2018, “is that when you link 2 billion individuals, you will see all the beauty and ugliness of mankind.”
As a result, Facebook is developing an oversight board that it states is outside of Facebook’s control, that can ultimately overthrow Facebook’s own policies on content management. The company has even vowed $130 million to get the board moneyed and operational, with strategies to introduce in2020
Here’s whatever we know so far:
In late 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg published a series of lengthy notes resolving top-level issues his company was attempting to fix.
The 2nd such note, released in November 2018, was titled, “ A Plan for Content Governance and Enforcement“
As dry as it sounds, the note set out Zuckerberg’s plan to address what he referred to as one of the “essential problems” facing his business.
That concern: How to police a service with over 2 billion users.
” The previous 2 years have revealed that without enough safeguards, people will abuse these tools to interfere in elections, spread misinformation, and incite violence,” Zuckerberg stated. “One of the most unpleasant lessons I have actually learned is that when you link two billion people, you will see all the beauty and ugliness of humanity.”
The idea is easy: To offer a way for users to appeal Facebook’s small amounts choices to an organization with a clear purpose, various from Facebook’s.
” The function of this body would be to uphold the concept of giving people a voice while also acknowledging the truth of keeping people safe,” Zuckerberg stated in his November 2018 note.
Precisely how that will work stays to be seen, however the concept goes something like this:
Both Facebook itself and Facebook users can emerge issues with the independent oversight board. For most Facebook users, being able to appeal to the independent board will just become a choice “after the direct appeals process with Facebook” concludes. All that means is you’ll have to very first attract Facebook.
Most notably of all: Choices made by the oversight board outright overthrow Facebook itself, and can even overthrow Zuckerberg’s decisions. “The board’s choice will be binding, even if I or anyone at Facebook disagrees with it,” Zuckerberg said in a letter released in September 2019
The independent board, Zuckerberg said, would exist “to promote the concept of giving people a voice while likewise recognizing the truth of keeping people safe.”
The independent board is, according to Facebook, different from the company of Facebook.
The board’s charter details the relationship between the board and Facebook as such:
- ” Relationship with Facebook: Facebook will contract for services from the board.
That stated, Facebook is straight accountable for financing the trust that funds the independent oversight board.
Facebook is providing $130 million in start-up capital to fund the board for its first 6 years, and guarantees to continue funding beyond that.
Despite the autonomy of the independent board, and regardless of it being funded by a separate trust, that trust receives its funding from– who else?– Facebook.
The start-up capital for the board, if you will, is being offered by Facebook to the tune of $130 million, “which will cover operational costs such as workplace, personnel and travel expenses.” The cash reserve is meant to money operations for “roughly 6 years,” and will be administered on an annual basis per a trust-approved spending plan.
Furthermore, Facebook assured to continue moneying the board indefinitely.
So, when will this independent board end up being active? Who’s running it? And what are the next steps?
In the meantime, it designated its first leader last month: Thomas Hughes.
Together with the statement of its first director, the board’s proposed bylaws were likewise published— which included one particularly intriguing note about transparency: “The board will release all decisions openly on its website and issue annual reports,” it says.
When pushed for an upgrade on timing, a Facebook representative told Service Insider the business anticipates to have logistics lined up so that the board can begin hearing cases in the next few months.