A newly released report shows that Facebook misled the Oversight Board. XCheck documents show that the board’s deference to high-profile users was in part due to “perceptions of undue influence”. However, the narrowly tailored scope of the investigation also suggests that the board members are simply playing out a role designed by Facebook.
XCheck documents show that Facebook misled the Oversight Board
In a recent report, the Wall Street Journal revealed that Facebook’s XCheck program failed to prevent misinformation and incitement to violence from being published online. The report is based on internal company documents, interviews with current and former Facebook employees, and research reports.
While Facebook is famous for its efforts to connect people, its policies have contributed to ethnic and racial violence in countries around the world. It also has struggled to moderate a torrent of content. It’s difficult to gauge the impact of its policy choices, though some researchers have uncovered a number of ill effects.
Recently, the Facebook Oversight Board was asked to review the decision to block former president Donald Trump’s account. Rather than providing a full accounting of the decision, the social networking site responded with partial answers.
This led the oversight board to request information about a system that Facebook calls Cross-Check. It’s an internal process designed to prevent users from being removed from Facebook if they are in violation of the platform’s rules.
Mark Zuckerberg has the final authority over every decision about what speech belongs on Facebook
Facebook is the hottest social networking site, but its policies are being called into question. Despite its stated mission of connecting people, its services have become a breeding ground for white nationalism, violent extremism, and conspiracy theories. Some politicians have called for changes to the company’s policies.
Facebook has been under fire for its lack of fact-checking and for exempting specific entities from its speech rules. The company has been under scrutiny for a number of scandals, including the Cambridge Analytica data breach and the mishandling of political ads.
Zuckerberg, who is also the founder and chairman of Facebook, gave a speech at Georgetown University on Thursday in which he addressed concerns about centralized power. He spoke about the role of Facebook in wrangling political ad spending, saying that it “will be judged by history decades from now.”
One of the things that Mark Zuckerberg has done is create an independent board to oversee the company’s speech policies. However, the board does not have the power to ban political ads or revoke the license to spread virulent hate.
The narrowly tailored scope suggests that board members are simply playing out a role designed by Facebook
There has been much debate about the Facebook Oversight Board. Some have called it a judicial institution, a quasi-judicial monitoring organization, or even the Facebook Supreme Court. Nevertheless, the Oversight Board appears to be a very small sliver of the overall content moderation decisions that Facebook makes.
The Oversight Board, like a court, focuses on a very specific area of content moderation. In particular, it deals with a narrow slice of appeals to Facebook’s content decisions. Specifically, it has overturned 11 of the 500,000 disputed content decisions that Facebook has made.
The Oversight Board is staffed by 20 experts who are based in various countries. These experts provide an independent analysis of the socio-political context of the board’s decisions. They also produce written opinions – a detailed explanation of the reasoning behind the board’s decision. Moreover, the written opinions are divided into standardized sections that make it easy to find key aspects of each decision.
Facebook’s deference to high-profile users as the product of “perceptions of undue influence”
Facebook has created a new entity called the Oversight Board. The organization is charged with investigating, and making public, information about Facebook’s corporate practices and policies. Some reports have described it as an “independent panel,” an “international human rights tribunal,” or even a “Supreme Court.”
The Oversight Board has been involved in a variety of controversy. It has issued 15 decisions to Facebook about content decisions. While the statements are generally ordered opinions, there is no basis for the characterizations of Facebook that the Oversight Board makes. And the fact that it has not been transparent about its decisions does not give the Oversight Board much room to operate independently.
Although the Oversight Board focuses on the front end of Facebook, there is very little information available about the back-end operations of the social media giant. And the board’s ability to address content moderation issues is based almost entirely on the limited scope of its review. Because the back-end operations of the company are not under Oversight Board’s supervision, it is difficult to evaluate whether the board is adequately addressing the issues that plague the company.