If you follow technology news, you’ve probably heard about the Facebook Oversight Board. It’s a panel that reviews Facebook’s practices and advises on ways to improve them. In recent years, it has become a target for criticism, particularly from people who say it is influenced by Facebook users. This article from TechCrunch discusses how the board came to be and what it does. The article highlights judicial-style decisions as well as characterizations of undue influence and diversity.
The Oversight Board, Facebook’s new internal review board, will soon begin judging cases. It will decide whether to remove or restore content, and how to classify it. In the first half of 2020, it will issue its first set of verdicts. They will be public within two weeks and archived in a database.
A year ago, Mark Zuckerberg laid out the blueprint for the Oversight Board. After a lengthy process of round-tables, simulations, and meetings with 650 people from 88 countries, the plan was finished.
As of late, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding the Oversight Board. Reports have labeled it a “Supreme Court,” a “quasi-judicial monitoring institution,” or even “Facebook’s own internal court.”
However, some internet law experts fear that the Oversight Board’s structure and limited liability shell could allow Facebook to keep the power to make its own rules. Others suggest that some members of the Oversight Board are not sufficiently conservative.
diversity of panel
The Facebook Oversight Board (FOB) is a company-funded, quasi-judicial monitoring body. Its mission is to improve social media regulation. However, the board’s role has been criticized for its lack of independent oversight. This review body is not a court and does not have mandatory disclosure of dissenting opinions.
Despite its limited jurisdiction, the Oversight Board focuses on user-generated content. While it may not have the capacity to make the kind of long-lasting changes Facebook’s corporate practices could benefit from, the board’s recommendations are not only a step in the right direction, they are also an important contribution to the level of transparency on the social networking site.
Besides its obvious mission, the FOB is also notable for its diverse mix of members. For example, one-fourth of the panel is based in the United States. Moreover, Facebook’s co-chairs selected the panel’s members from feedback provided by the community.
Another noteworthy feature of the FOB is its use of an automated system to determine which panel member is assigned to each case. In theory, this should ensure a more balanced representation of the country that the user originated from.
reliance on Facebook for corporate fact finding
The Reliance x Facebook partnership is a win-win situation for both sides. Facebook can access Reliance’s rich database of user information while the latter can benefit from Facebook’s ubiquitous social network. In the end, the two parties can each rake in a bundle of cash. Not to mention, a lucrative data bonanza.
In a nutshell, it’s a deal where Facebook is paying Reliance roughly ten percent of the price of the telecoms company’s Jio platform. This ostensibly makes Jio a major player in the Indian online and offline retail space. Plus, it’s a big win for the former, as the telco is in the midst of a debt-ridden mess.
It’s also a smart move for Facebook, which is already in a long and tangled relationship with the telecommunications giant. Indeed, this latest move is a big bet for the future of both companies. With the upcoming launch of the Free Basics Plan, a Facebook-owned free internet service, and the roll out of Jio’s Android smartphones, the two firms are ready to take the next steps towards transforming their relationship into a true partnership.
characterization of undue influence
A number of reports have characterized the Oversight Board as “Facebook’s own group,” an independent panel, and even Facebook’s own Supreme Court. But the Oversight Board is actually a limited liability shell that is funded by one corporation. It operates through a carefully crafted framework outlined by Facebook. This makes it difficult to assess the effectiveness of the board’s efforts and the extent to which they protect the rights of others.
The Oversight Board has issued 15 decisions. Among them is a decision to remove a political cartoon from Facebook. Another is a finding that Facebook’s “AI-assisted Media Matching Service,” which flags images, is inadequate.
However, the Oversight Board has not been particularly forthcoming about the actual process by which it made its decisions. Instead, it characterized its work as a part of a larger effort to improve transparency.
In addition, the Oversight Board has struggled to get information from Facebook about its backend operations. Consequently, the board has only able to comment on the issue of user-generated content.