Facebook’s ‘court’ might implode, but other tech giants should follow suit
The idea might merely be to obfuscate and obscure its power over what users say, but ultimately it is a smart move
Facebook’s long-awaited “supreme court” is beginning to take shape. If that seems a strange sentence, it’s only because social networks have been dictatorships for so long.
This week, Facebook published a draft charter for its oversight board, a new independent body that will serve as a final court of appeals for Facebook users who are punished by the company’s moderators. Facebook claims it will treat the board’s decisions as binding: if it says your sexually suggestive selfie should be restored, then restored it will be no matter what Mark Zuckerberg thinks.
Thanks to the charter we now know that the board will have about 40 members and it will hear cases in panels of five; that it will have a full-time staff to help it pick and research cases; that appellants will be able to submit testimony; and that it will be managed by an arm’s-length trust, funded by Facebook to the tune of several million dollars per year (potentially for several years in advance, to guarantee independence)...