A new nonprofit advocacy group called Accountable Tech is calling on Facebook’s Oversight Board members to demand “real authority” from the social media giant. If they aren’t given it, the group has said that the board members should quit.
The Oversight Board was created as an independent “supreme court” that would have the power to overrule Facebook on content moderation and privacy issues. However, according to Accountable Tech and several other nonprofit groups that signed an open letter to the Board, it doesn’t have the amount of control that it should.
“Each of you were selected to serve on this Board because of your outspoken commitment to free expression, human rights, and democratic values,” the group wrote in its letter. “Now is the time to uphold those principles. We humbly ask that you refuse to be complicit in this Facebook charade –– that you demand sweeping and immediate changes, or walk away.”
Some members of the advocacy coalition went on to criticize Facebook further, saying that it has long promised that the Board would be the answer to its problems, but it hasn’t actually done the work to make that so.
“Facebook specializes in window dressing,” Accountable Tech co-founder Nicole Gill told TechCrunch. “They have been touting the Oversight Board for years as this grandiose solution, but the platform’s problems are more urgent than ever, and the Board is powerless.”
While it’s a step in the right direction that Facebook created an independent review board, it won’t mean anything if advocacy groups like these don’t apply pressure to make sure it does its job.
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