The news: Prominent digital rights activist Nighat Dad announced that she has been appointed as a member of the Global Oversight Board for Facebook and Instagram. The oversight board, that will regulate the content on both social media platforms, has revealed 19 other members.
The Global Oversight Board: On May 13, Facebook announced the first 19 members of the global oversight board, which will be independent of Facebook itself. It will make decisions regarding the kind of content that stays on Facebook or Instagram and the one that gets removed from the social media platforms. The co-founder of Facebook, Mark Zukerberg, presented the idea for an independent content governance board in 2018. In the past few years, Facebook has been the target of multiple controversies related to censorship, free speech, and the circulation of misleading information. The board will work to make sure that the available content is free of controversy and follows set guidelines. It has been described as a fundamental change in the way content on Facebook will be regulated.
The members: As things stand, 20 members of the team that will make these decisions have been appointed and 20 more are expected. The members include jurists, human rights activists, and journalists, from various countries around the world including a Nobel peace laureate and former Danish prime minister. One of these members is Nighat Dad, founder of Digital Rights Foundation Pakistan.
I joined because I truly believe in the power, influence & independence this Board will have on complex decisions that will be essential for safeguarding & promoting human rights, women’s rights and freedom of expression. The Board was designed to be as inclusive as possible.
— Nighat Dad (@nighatdad) May 6, 2020
The selection process for board members began with four appointed co-chairs, who then selected 16 more members. The board is expected to expand and include a total of 40 members. It is also supported by an independent and irreversible $130 million trust, which means that Facebook itself cannot choose or remove members of the board.
How it works: The Global Oversight Board will ensure that the content on these social media platforms is in line with Facebook community values, international and human rights, cultural norms, and freedom of speech. The board will only review content like posts, videos, and comments in the beginning but might move on to profiles, pages, and groups later. The most disputed cases will be solved first, to set an example on how Facebook should deal with future cases. A five-member panel will hear each case, including at least one member from the world region that the case comes from, and make a final decision. Facebook is required to follow all decisions made by the board as long as they do not violate the national or local laws of a country or region. In that case, the laws will take precedence.