A Member Of Facebook Oversight Board Says That Heavy-handed Social Media Regulations Will Not Solve The Problems Of The Industry, And It Could Impact Freedom Of Speech

On Friday, a member of the Facebook Oversight Board stated that heavy-handed regulation will not solve the problems of the social media industry. Helle Thorning-Schmidt, a member of the Oversight Board and former Prime Minister of Denmark, said that heavy-handed regulation is not the answer to the problems of the social media industry, and she also warned that excessive social media regulation could negatively impact freedom of speech. According to a report published by CNBC, she warned against the infringement of freedom of speech owing to an aggressive social media regulatory approach.

She is one of the four co-chairs of the Facebook Oversight Board, and she told Squawk Box Europe of CNBC that if social media regulations get too heavy, it will actually negatively impact freedom of speech. She added that she believes in regulation, and she believes that politics needs to play a role.

Thorning-Schmidt cited the example of internet shutdown in Belarus last month after the election results of the county in which President Alexander Lukashenko declared a landslide victory. Following widespread protests in the country over election results, the country instituted a government-imposed internet shutdown.

Facebook first announced the Oversight Board back in November 2018, and this board will have the power to overrule even CEO Zuckerberg on whether to remove a controversial post or not. The Facebook Oversight Board will govern appeals from Instagram as well as Facebook users, and questions from Facebook. But, it is not yet operations, and in July of this year, the board said that it will not be operational until late fall. The board stated in an email that it is working hard to become operational.

The board is comprised of independent expert members from across the globe, and it is empowered to binding and independent decisions on several most challenging content issues on Facebook’s platform as well as Instagram, Facebook Oversight Board stated. Other members of the Facebook Oversight Board include Andras Soja, and former editor-in-chief of The Guardian Newspaper, Alan Rusbridger. Soja is a former judge and Vice President of the European Court of Human Rights. Facebook has faced intense backlash this year over the company’s handling of hateful content and misinformation on Facebook’s platform. On Thursday, the social media giant announced that Facebook would ban new political advertisements a week before the upcoming 2020 United States Presidential Election.

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