A group of Facebook critics announced that it is launching its very own oversight board to hold the social media giant accountable as well as appraise its moderation decisions and other policies.
The Real Facebook Oversight Board — composed of 25 academics, journalists and activists including veteran journalist and Rappler executive editor Maria Ressa — will rival the social media platform’s own board, which is still currently being formed.
“Facebook is a weapon. A private company, controlled by one man, being used to undermine democracy. We urgently need to hold it to account. Before it’s too late,” said journalist Carole Cadwalladr in a tweet on Friday, September 25.
“Today we launch the Real Facebook Oversight Board @FBoversight to try & do just that. Join us,” she added.
The announcement came after Facebook said its own, quasi-independent oversight board, also composed of experts from civil rights and academia, will launch in October, right before the elections in the United States.
According to the Real Facebook Oversight Board, Facebook is taking too long to set up its panel and that its mandate is limited. It also pointed out that the 90 days potentially needed to reach decisions isn’t fast enough to address the “urgent risks” that Facebook may present to the upcoming election.
“We’re not waiting for another election to go wrong. We believe accountability in real time is vital,” the board said in its website.
Aside from the Ressa, other experts included the board are: Shoshana Zuboff, author of “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism”; Rashad Robinson, president of the non-profit Color of Change; former Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves; Roger McNamee, former Facebook investor; and ex-CIA officer Yael Eisenstat, former head of election integrity operations for political ads at Facebook.
The Real Facebook Oversight Board will conduct its sessions through Facebook Live on Wednesdays at 2 p.m. ET.
Facebook, for its part, said the platform’s official panel took time to vet members, develop a process for submitting appeals, and create a secure technology for the members to use when discussing decisions.
“We ran a year-long global consultation to set up the Oversight Board as a long-lasting institution that will provide binding, independent oversight over some of our hardest content decisions. The members were selected for their deep experience in a diverse range of issues,” Facebook spokesperson Jeffrey Gelman said.
“This new effort is mostly longtime critics creating a new channel for existing criticisms,” he added.