Facebook announces independent content monitoring board to crack down on fake news, abuse

29th Jan 2019
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Facebook would be holding workshops around the world over the next six months and soliciting feedback from a variety of organisations and groups. 

Under continuous flak for manipulating and misinforming users on its platform, Facebook now plans to set up a content monitoring board and has released a draft charter outlining the body’s potential makeup.

The ‘Content Oversight Board’ will likely consist of 40 members and have the power to overturn Facebook’s decisions on user posts. The board will pick and choose cases to review in a bid to restrict harassment and abuse, incitement of violence and misinformation campaigns on the social networking platform.

Facebook

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had first hinted at such a body last November. He reckoned that Facebook should not be making any content monitoring decisions on its own. Instead, it should outsourced the activity to an independent body consisting of tech and human rights experts who are not restricted by commercial considerations.


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Announcing the charter via an official blog post, Nick Clegg, Facebook's recently appointed Head of Global Affairs, said:

“As we build out the board we want to make sure it is able to render independent judgement, is transparent and respects privacy. After initial consultation and deliberation, we’ve proposed a basic scope and structure that’s outlined in this draft charter. We’ve also identified key decisions that still need to be made, like the number of members, length of terms and how cases are selected.”
Image: FB Newsroom

Facebook also announced that it would be conducting several workshops around the world over the next six months where discussions on a gamut of issues from free speech and human rights to technology’s role in a democracy would be held.

Clegg added,

“We’ll host these workshops in Singapore, Delhi, Nairobi, Berlin, New York, Mexico City and many more cities — soliciting feedback on how best to design a board that upholds our principles and brings independent judgment to hard cases.” 

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Facebook is also reaching out to a variety of organisations, global think tanks, academic researchers and other groups for proposals on how it can address pressing issues around content on its platform. “We’ll be announcing more about how proposals can be submitted in the coming weeks,” Facebook said.

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