Friday, 25 September 2020

Facebook is set to launch its Oversight Board ahead of the US presidential election that will overrule decisions about content on the platform

 Facebook announced its Oversight Board, which will rule over what is allowed or removed from the platform, is launching in October.

The news of the so-called Facebook 'supreme court' comes amid rising concerns about misinformation and manipulation around the US election and contingency plans being made by Facebook to deal with a chaotic scenario.

Earlier this year the first 20 members of the panel were appointed, and it is expected to grow eventually to 40.

The panel will be able to make binding rulings on whether posts or ads violate the company's standards.

According to the charter, the board will weigh factors such as severity, scale, and public discourse as it makes its decisions regarding content.

Once a decision has been made, Facebook will ‘promptly implement’ it, the company says. 

Facebook announced its Oversight Board, which will rule over what is allowed or removed from the platform, will launch in October. The news of the so-called Facebook 'supreme court' comes amid rising concerns about misinformation and manipulation around the US election

Facebook announced its Oversight Board, which will rule over what is allowed or removed from the platform, will launch in October. The news of the so-called Facebook 'supreme court' comes amid rising concerns about misinformation and manipulation around the US election

The members come from various countries and include jurists, human rights activists, journalists, a Nobel peace laureate and a former Danish prime minister.

'We are currently testing the newly deployed technical systems that will allow users to appeal and the board to review cases,' a board spokesperson said in a statement to AFP.


'Assuming those tests go to plan, we expect to open user appeals in mid to late October. Building a process that is thorough, principled and globally effective takes time and our members have been working aggressively to launch as soon as possible.'

The panel of experts to rule on content was first proposed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in 2018, as a 'supreme court' which could overrule decisions made by the company.

The panel of experts to rule on content was first proposed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in 2018, as a 'supreme court' which could overrule decisions made by the company.

The panel of experts to rule on content was first proposed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in 2018, as a 'supreme court' which could overrule decisions made by the company.

However, the initial bylaws were set in a way for members to consider appeals from users who believed content should be removed.

Under the new protocol, if a user feels the decision is unfair they can appeal to the 'supreme court.' 

Facebook, which has set up an independent foundation to operate the panel, said it has been working on software that allows the members to review cases from anywhere in the world.

'We look forward to the board beginning to hear cases in mid to late October,' a Facebook spokesperson said.

Facebook indicated this week it has contingency plans to block some content on its platform if civil unrest breaks out after the November US election.

The social media giant seems to be working around the clock to design features and protocols to avoid the fiasco that was the 2016 election, which it was said to be under prepared and allowed foreign meddling and misinformation to spread.

Facebook recently launched a hub for voting resources that claims to provide users with access to credible and authoritative information.

Facebook launched a hub for voting resources that claims to provide users with access to credible and authoritative information

Facebook launched a hub for voting resources that claims to provide users with access to credible and authoritative information

The firm said its voter hub would evolve with the election season, from focusing on registration and poll-worker volunteering matters to how to vote in the pandemic and then tallying of ballots.

Facebook and Instagram users can use the tool to check if they are registered to vote and how to do so if they are not.

The social media site is expecting malicious actors to try to exploit uncertainly about the election or promote violence while votes are being counted, which is expected to take longer than usual due to the pandemic prompting more people to vote by mail.

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