Facebook Drafts A Proposal For Its New Content Review Board

Facebook drafts a proposal describing how its new content review board will workFacebook is now taking steps in the right direction regarding its content policy decisions as after their recent announcement of a content review board, they have also presented a draft describing how the board will review critical decisions and revamp policies. The board will be considered as the Facebook Supreme Court and it will only hear the final level appeals.

Previously Facebook already gave a little briefing on what sort of reports or appeals the board will handle. Before heading onto the board, Facebook’s internal review department will make decisions for the first or second appeal and in case if someone is still not happy, then they can make the review board decide about the reported content. That being said, the board will also not take on every other case. Instead they will only review things which are important and requires contested decision.

But now Facebook has more details to share about the board’s governance.

According to the draft, Facebook is going to hire experts which would have plenty of experience in content, privacy, free expression, human rights, journalism, civil rights, safety, and other relevant disciplines. The list of the members will be disclosed publicly and they will also have a full time staff to assist them in implementing the decisions. Facebook is suggesting to have 40 members in its review board which will be hired on the basis of required qualification for the designation and their expertise in geographical and cultural background will also be considered.

Moreover, the board will also not hire any former or current Facebook employee and neither they would include contingent workers of Facebook or government officials. The board will also self review the selection of its members once their tenures are over.

Charting a Course for an Oversight Board for Content Decisions

Each of the board members will work for a time period of three years with an extension of one year given to the ones who want to continue. The members can serve part time and perform their other duties outside Facebook as well.

The decision of the review board will be considered final even if it is opposite to the existing policies of Facebook. However, the company may then choose to include the changes or even seek for advice in its own policy development.

Along with users, Facebook can also forward their appeal for more controversial cases. But for the initial guidance of board members, Facebook will provide the statement of its values in the final charter.

The board’s decisions will be declared publicly and published within two weeks, while taking care of the user's privacy. Any member who wish to differ with the decision may also choose to publish their opinion along with the final verdict.
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Since the board cannot reasonably represent the whole world, the board will also consult with linguistic, cultural and sociopolitical experts for its decisions. To overcome the challenges of conflict of interests, Facebook is currently working out on guidelines and members will also be paid a fixed salary before hand.

Till now Facebook has been pretty much open about their content review board as the company is also looking for feedback from its stakeholders. With so many complaints, one can hope that if all goes well in drafts, we might finally see Facebook being at a neutral position in times of crisis. But then the content review board will have a lot up their sleeves too.

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