Facebook plans content oversight board, tightens paid ad rules
today Jan 29, 2019
Facebook Inc on Monday laid out plans for an independent content oversight board with the power to overturn company decisions on user posts, aimed at addressing concerns over misinformation and abusive behavior on the platform.
The board’s 40 members would select cases to review as the world’s largest social media network tries to crack down on harassment, incitement of violence and the spread of false information without infringing freedom of speech.
Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has said that Facebook should not make such decisions, but defer to an independent body of technology and human rights experts free of commercial influences.
Facebook will select inaugural members for three-year terms, but they will independently decide on future membership, Facebook proposed in a draft charter.
Details about the board’s makeup and appeals process will be finalised after a series of workshops over the next six months, wrote Nick Clergy, Facebook recently appointed head of global affairs, in a blog post introducing the charter.
At a news conference in Brussels, Clergy also said the company will strengthen rules and safeguards around political advertisements to prevent foreign interference in elections, including those in Europe this year.
Facebook has faced pressure from regulators and the public after last year’s revelation that British consultancy Cambridge Analytical had improperly acquired data on millions of U.S. users to target election advertising.
Facebook said it would also set up two new regional operations centers focused on monitoring election-related content in its Dublin and Singapore offices.
“These teams will add a layer of defenses against fake news, hate speech and voter suppression,” it said.
Clergy also addressed allegations that Facebook sells user data, saying this was not the case.
“Selling people’s information to advertisers would not only be the wrong thing to do, it would undermine the way we do business, because it would reduce the unique value of our service to advertisers,” he said.
Facebook has no plans to swap its ads-only business model for a fee-paying service, Clergy said, responding to calls by some as a way to stave off privacy issues.
“We want Facebook to be a universal service. We believe that anyone should be able to connect to anyone else. The best way to do this is to offer the service for free - and that’s what the advertising model allows us to do,” he said.
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