Facebook’s critics form an oversight board of their own to keep an eye on Facebook’s content moderation practices

Criticism is nothing new for Facebook. It is one of the most heavily criticized tech companies, and on its free days, i.e. when it is not facing some criticism, it is the one criticizing other tech companies, like Apple, and TikTok. Recently, the company faced a month-long advertising boycott in the light of the #StopHateforProfit campaign. Now, the organizers of that advertising boycott campaign have allied as the Critics of Facebook, and have launched an ‘oversight board’ that will review all the content moderation endeavors of the company with a critical eye.

Facebook has been working on its own ‘Oversight Board’ too, for a year, and it was supposed to have been already working, but recently, Facebook announced that it's officially mandated oversight board will start working in mid-late October.

Now, this delay in the launch of Facebook’s own Oversight Board can actually mean that the board will not be reviewing the cases related to the upcoming US Presidential Election, which is a crucial time for Facebook and other social media apps too. There can be a lot of misinformation and propaganda revolving around the election and political campaigns, and all of this should ideally have been monitored by the Oversight Board that Facebook is launching. But, because of the delay, Facebook's critics have found a way to integrate themselves as watchdogs over Facebook’s content moderation practices, especially in the time of an important election.

The Critic’s group has named itself the ‘Real Facebook Oversight Board’ and it includes the heads of three US Civil Rights groups, the former head of election integrity at Facebook, and the former president of Estonia.

This new group is showing exceptional speed in comparison to Facebook’s tardiness, and it is holding its first general meeting in the coming week. The agenda of this meeting is to discuss election topics like voter suppression, election misinformation, security, etc. This oversight board will help policymakers and consumers defend against a platform that does not follow rules!

Also, the meeting of this oversight group will broadcast in weekly shows on Facebook Live, as per the plan of the members of the board.

This board has members who were basically a part of Facebook’s teams in the past, but then due to various reasons, they turned critical and decided to leave Facebook. Most of the people turned against Facebook after the way they saw the platform handled, rather mishandled the scandals around the 2016 election.

Of course, Facebook is not happy with this situation. A Facebook spokesperson said that the company spent a whole year in forming a well-consulted oversight board that would provide a long-lasting institution, and will help the company make some binding, independent oversight over some difficult content decisions. The new rival group is just a bunch of critics forming a new channel to express their criticism openly against the company.

Photo: SOPA Images via Getty Images

Read next: Facebook's CrowdTangle Tool is not effective when it comes to monitoring misinformation: Tech Transparency Project
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