Facebook Announces First Members of Its Oversight Board

announced the first of its Oversight Board, which features 20 people from a variety of backgrounds, including a former prime minister of Denmark and a Nobel Peace Prize winner. 

The mission of the Oversight Board is to review appeals to Facebook's policy decisions and is meant to be completely separate from Facebook leadership. The board has the ability to overrule Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

In total, there will be 40 on the Oversight Board who will serve three-year terms. The come from 27 countries, with backgrounds in fields such as journalism, constitutional law, human rights, and free speech. 

Here are the members: 

  • Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei, program manager, Open Society Initiative for West Africa
  • Katherine Chen, professor, National Chengchi University
  • Nighat Dad, founder, Digital Rights Foundation
  • Nicolas Suzor, professor, School of Law at Queensland University of Technology
  • Tawakkol Karman, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
  • John Samples, vice president, Cato Institute
  • Emi Palmor, advocate and lecturer, Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Israel
  • András Sajó, founding dean of legal studies, Central European University
  • Julie Owono, executive director, Internet Sans Frontières
  • Maina Kiai, director, Human Rights Watch Global Alliances and Partnerships
  • Evelyn Aswad, professor and chair, University of Oklahoma College of Law
  • Endy Bayuni, senior editor and board member, The Jakarta Post
  • Michael McConnell, professor and director of the Constitutional Law Center, Stanford Law School
  • Helle Thorning-Schmidt, former prime minister, Denmark
  • Catalina Botero-Marino, dean, law school at Universidad de Los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
  • Ronaldo Lemos, professor, Rio de Janeiro State University Law School
  • Pamela Karlan, professor, Stanford Law School
  • Sudhir Krishnaswamy, vice-chancellor and professor of law, National Law School of India University
  • Alan Rusbridger, principal, Lady Margaret Hall Oxford
  • Jamal Greene, professor, Columbia Law School

Members of the new Oversight Board will review content referred to it by both users and Facebook, which can include content on Facebook or Instagram, advertising, or in Facebook Groups. 

“The Board will review whether content is consistent with Facebook and Instagram's policies and values, as well as a commitment to upholding freedom of expression within the framework of international norms of human rights,” the board's website says. “We will make decisions based on these principles, and the impact on users and society, without regard to Facebook's economic, political or reputational interests. Facebook must implement our decisions, unless implementation could violate the law.”

The Oversight Board will begin to hear cases in the next few months and will prioritize cases that could impact many users, are important to public discourse, or raise questions about Facebook's policies.

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