Social Media

Facebook’s Oversight Board ‘expects to begin hearing cases in the coming months’

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on August 23, 2020

Facebook is not likely to face a backlash from Indian advertisers like it did in the US   -  REUTERS

Nearly three months after the announcement of its members, Facebook’s Oversight Board is yet to become operational.

Facebook had announced the setting up of its Oversight Board with 20 members from across the globe, back in May.

In an emailed statement the board said it was “working hard to become operational and expects to begin to hear cases in the coming months.”

“The Oversight Board, which is comprised of independent expert members from around the world, is empowered to make binding and independent decisions on many of the most challenging content issues on Facebook and Instagram,” it said.

The need for an independent oversight body has become more important for the social media giant, which has recently been marred by multiple controversies.

“Our timetable is not based around any single event, but the need to carefully build an institution that will consider many consequential issues for a global community over the long-term,” the board said in a statement posted on social media in July.

Facebook and its policies have come under scrutiny In India following a Wall Street Journal report that alleged that Facebook's content policies favoured the ruling party and had ignored hate speech violations by them.

The independent self-regulatory body refrained from commenting on the issue, stating that it will not shy away from holding the company accountable, once it is operational.

“How Facebook treats posts from public figures that may violate the Community Standards are within the scope of the Board and are the type of highly challenging cases that the board expects to consider when we begin operating. Hate speech is included in this and we won't shy away from the tough cases and holding Facebook accountable,” it said.

The board in June had made a similar statement after Facebook faced criticism under the ‘Stop Hate for Profit,’ campaign criticising its hate speech policies. The campaign referred to the protests against police brutality and racism following the murder of a black man, George Floyd, in police custody.

It had said that it would be operational in the coming months and that an onboarding and training programme for board members was underway.

Published on August 23, 2020

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