Distracting From Pending Trump Verdict, Facebook Outsources Accountability Yet Again

The Real Facebook Oversight Board issued the following comment for attribution:

Facebook is still refusing to take responsibility for dangerous and false content that continues unabated across its platforms. Its Oversight Board is a $130 million PR tool and today’s decision by Facebook to allow users to report content to the board confirms that it has no intention of tackling the threats to both life and democracy it continues to pose.

Instead of asking hard questions about how its platform was used to facilitate an insurrection, it has set up a pseudo-court of appeal. The Oversight Board is simply a way of outsourcing responsibility to a third party with highly limited powers. It will adjudicate high-profile individual cases as a fundamental distraction from the core problem of Facebook’s failure to address the systemic failures of its business model and algorithms.

Today’s announcement shows again the constraints of this approach: no transparency in rejected cases, no right to appeal, advertisers let off the hook and no real effort to mitigate harmful content across the platforms and no true independence just rushed optics from a paid board days before the Trump ruling.

Background

Facebook’s Oversight Board is about to announce its decision on Trump. This announcement today looks to have been rushed out ahead of the verdict to enhance the optics around the board’s credibility.

The Real Facebook Oversight Board believes that this decision will have global ramifications and that the Oversight Board is being used to launder Facebook from the consequences of both that decision and its ongoing failure to design systems and policies to protect users from harm.

An emergency response to the ongoing harms on Facebook’s platforms from leading global scholars, experts and advocates.