Facebook Delays Naming Content Oversight Board, Pledges $130 Million to Project

Social network’s “Supreme Court” will be “grounded in human rights principles” like freedom of expression and privacy

Facebook has committed $130 million towards a new, independent oversight board that will make critical decisions on what content is allowed on its platform, the company said on Thursday. At the same time, Facebook said it has delayed naming its members of the board to 2020, after initially planning on having it settled by the end of this year.

The board will be “grounded in human rights principles, including the rights to freedom of expression, privacy and remedy,” according to a blog post from Brent Harris, Facebook’s director of governance and global affairs. It will have the final say on what is and isn’t allowed on Facebook — decisions that even CEO Mark Zuckerberg won’t have the authority to overturn, the company has said.

The oversight board comes as Facebook and other social media giants like Twitter have been criticized for their seemingly arbitrary and inconsistent application of their rules.

The board is expected to work as Facebook’s own “Supreme Court,” where small panels will weigh in on the company’s content enforcement efforts. Facebook users will be able to appeal to the oversight board for a decision when action is taken against their accounts.

Facebook’s decision to hold off on naming the board’s co-chairs and initial members until next year is due, in part, to narrowing down a list of more than 1,000 nominees to about 40 people, Harris told Reuters on Thursday.

“This is not a ‘move fast and break things’ project,” Harris said, alluding to Facebook’s old motto.

The candidates range from Nobel Prize winners to local judges and Facebook group moderators, he added.

Facebook’s $130 million pledge will fund the project for about 6 years, according to the blog post, and cover its office space, staff and travel expenses.

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