The Social Network May Not Be Holding High Profile Accounts On The Platform Fully Accountable For Their Actions, Acknowledges Facebook's Oversight Board

Facebook's Oversight Board has recently made it clear that the company needs to be more transparent about how it deals with high profile users on the social network.

The Oversight Board is a moderating body that operates independent of Facebook's other operations. Therefore, it can call into question any and all actions held by the tech giant, even at the hands of CEO Mark Zuckerberg. In fact, the Oversight Board is allowed to go so far as to conduct investigations and the like of its own accord. What ever prompted the formation of such an independent committee in the first place? Well, that's the interesting part, and very relevant to this article. The Oversight Board was formed in the wake of the US Capitol Riots, where it was finally brought up that perhaps a separate board should be responsible for unbiased action against the likes of Donald Trump on the platform.

The Oversight Board's first course of action was to remove Trump from the social network and its associated bodies, ensuring that the man's hateful vitriol would stay off of the site. However, this does beg the question: what took so long? With Trump being responsible for factually incorrect, hateful, and racist rhetoric almost on a daily basis, why was he ever allowed to stay so long? Well, the answer seems to be that Facebook's much more cavalier in its treatment of famous celebrities, influencers, and other such people of note on the platform. While there's no solid evidence to support this fact, that too might be because the company's withholding important information.
The Oversight Board's revelation that the social network is keeping information from the public about how it treats high profile individuals is worrying. It also fully fits Facebook's infamous modus operandi of letting harmful and toxic content slide if it earns enough of a paycheck. Frances Haugen, the recent Facebook whistleblower, is testifying to the US Congress over how the social network is allowing hateful content to gain traction on the platform since it increases engagement and interaction. Similarly, Facebook's fine with high profile celebrities get away with infractions, since they themselves invite engagement and therefore revenue.

Ultimately, the fact that the Oversight Board is calling Facebook out for this is a relieving revelation. Since the company itself started the board, there was always a chance that the latter would always meekly submit to the former. Not so, apparently. The Oversight Board's keeping a watchful eye. Hopefully it also brings about some actual change

Photo: Toby Melville / reuters

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