Facebook to Introduce Independent Regulatory Board

Facebook has revealed plans to form an independent Oversight Board which will make final decisions on moderation issues.

The board is going to review appeals to Facebook policy rulings, such as content blocks. It will also recommend changes to the company’s terms and conditions. 

All of the decisions made by the new group are final and will override suggestions from Mark Zuckerberg. However,  Facebook can choose which cases it submits for review.

It will initially be formed of 11 part-time members, increasing to 40 over time. The social media giant said the identities of the board members are going to be public, as will the decisions that they make.

The board is still in early development and won’t be ready to hear the first case until 2020.

This move is a significant one as Facebook constantly faces criticism for the way it handles content moderation. It is often accused of being biased, or of not doing enough to tackle hate speech.

Some commentators aren’t convinced it is making a change of any worth, however. Bernie Hogan, a senior research fellow from the Oxford Internet Institute, said to the BBC: “Facebook’s ‘supreme court’ invokes all the pomp and circumstance of actual judicial practice without any of the responsibility to citizens.

“This panel is seen as an attempt to do something, but it appears to be just short of having enough teeth to make a difference. It is a way to tell critics ‘lay off, we are doing all it can’. Such a panel, while admirable is no match for some well organised trolls or broad systemic issues.”

Facebook Dating launched suddenly in the USA earlier this month, provoking instant reactions from professionals across the industry.

Read more here.