Giving Up On It’s Irrelevant Oversight Board, Meta Layoffs Signal a Grim Future for Online Hate and Election Protection

Real Facebook Oversight Board
2 min readApr 29, 2024

Layoffs Beg The Question: With $36b In Earnings Last Quarter, What’s Being Spent to Protect Safety and Democracy?

29 April 2024 — The Real Facebook Oversight Board today issued the following statement about the pending layoffs at The Oversight Board -

“The Facebook Oversight Board has had virtually no impact in its 3+ years: Its most consequential decision, the Trump Ban, has already been reversed, while Meta has fully implemented only a third of the Board’s recommendations, and has cut the Oversight Board out of key content moderation decisions.

Stephen Neal, the Chairperson of the Oversight Board Trust, gamely tried to save face when he said the cuts will allow the Oversight Board to “further optimize … by prioritizing the most impactful aspects of our work.” There are no impactful aspects of the work, other than distracting from efforts to independently regulate Facebook content.

The layoffs are a grim admission, however, that Meta no longer feels any obligation to invest in staunching the flow of online hate and disinformation. With cuts already to its election integrity team, Meta is now heading into the 2024 election having disinvested from both internal and external safeguards. With $36b in earnings in Q1 2024 alone, where is the spending to protect safety and democracy?

The Oversight Board was never a serious effort at addressing the content crisis on Meta’s platforms. Now, with the PR shine knocked off, the Oversight Board is less relevant than ever — a dinosaur from a time when Meta felt compelled to pretend it was acting in the public interest. These layoffs will have no real effect, but should be a warning — Meta is steadily and surely giving up on even its most rudimentary nods towards online safety and election protection.

Real oversight shouldn’t be dependent on funding from the entity you’re meant to oversee. These layoffs further unmask the Oversight Board’s lack of independence.”

​​Real Facebook Oversight Board members are available for interviews. Statements do not reflect the individual positions of all Real Facebook Oversight Board Members. Contact us at media@the-citizens.com. The Real Facebook Oversight Board is an emergency response to the ongoing harms on Facebook’s platforms from leading global scholars, experts and advocates.

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Real Facebook Oversight Board

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