Maina Kiai, a human rights activist and Director of Human Rights Watch’s Global Alliances and Partnerships program. Has been today appointed as a Board Member to the newly created Oversight Board for Facebook and Instagram Content.
The Oversight Board will review certain content decisions by Facebook and Instagram. It will make binding decisions based on respect for freedom of expression and human rights.
Maina Kiai together with other board members will tackle increasingly complex and contentious debates. From what types of content should and should not be permitted on Facebook and Instagram and who should decide. The Board will prioritize cases that potentially impact many users. Or are of critical importance to public discourse or raise questions about Facebook’s policies.
Decisions made by the Board must be implemented by Facebook, as long as they do not violate the law. Oversight Board Members are independent of the company. They are funded by an independent trust, and cannot be removed by Facebook based on their decisions.
“We have been talking for a long time about creating some kind of independent governance structure for making big companies more accountable on some of the most important decisions they make,” said Maina Kiai. State regulation is important, and I think we need to make progress there too, but I think the Board is an exciting experiment and I’m excited to be part of it,” Kiai added.
Maina will work in collaboration with 19 other Members who speak over 27 languages and have diverse professional, cultural, political, and religious backgrounds and viewpoints. Over time the Board will grow to around 40 Members. While no one can claim to represent everyone, Members are confident that the global composition will underpin, strengthen, and guide decision-making.
Members contract directly with the Oversight Board, are not Facebook employees, and cannot be removed by Facebook. Members will serve for a maximum of three 3-year terms and case panels will be confidential and assigned at random; no Member can choose the panel they sit on, and all opinions will be anonymous. The Board’s financial independence is also guaranteed. A $130 million trust fund has been established for the fund and is completely independent of Facebook. The resources will fund its operations and cannot be revoked.
All decisions made by the board will be made public, and Facebook has to respond publicly to them. All Board decisions will be published on its website while protecting the identity and privacy of those involved. Additionally, the Board will issue a public annual report on its work to evaluate how the Board is fulfilling its purpose and whether Members believe Facebook is living up to its commitments.
The Oversight Board will begin hearing cases in the coming months. Initially, users will be able to appeal to the Board in cases where Facebook has removed their content.