Facebook Releases an Update on Its Oversight Board: Many Questions, Few Answers
It’s been roughly six months since Facebook started collecting global feedback on its proposal to create an oversight board for content moderation decisions. This morning, the platform released the findings of that process in an epic report—almost 250 pages of summary, surveys, public comment, workshop feedback and expert consultations. The good news is that the report does give some much needed transparency on what users and key stakeholders want from this new board, which will make Facebook more accountable should the company choose to set counter-majoritarian policy unilaterally. The bad news is that (as one might expect from an attempt to achieve global consensus) it is not at all clear what exactly users want.
If you were hoping for decisions on what the next steps will be—or even what they should be—this report isn’t that. That seems likely to come when the board’s charter is released in early August. Today’s document, despite its length, continues the trend of Facebook statements that raise more questions than they answer. The overwhelming impression from reading the extensive public input about the proposal, as well as the summary of that feedback by Facebook representatives, is that no one really knows what the body will be or how it will work.