Agree or Disagree with Facebook’s Oversight Board, Its Decision Is Still A Win for Transparency and Fairness, Says ITIF

May 5, 2021

WASHINGTON—In response to the announcement today by the Facebook Oversight Board of its review of Facebook’s decision to indefinitely ban President Trump from its platform, ITIF vice president Daniel Castro issued the following statement:         

With 2.8 billion users, no decision Facebook makes will ever make everyone happy. Reasonable people can and will continue to disagree about what content should be allowed on these platforms and when users have violated the rules. Facebook’s original decision to ban President Trump from its platform was highly polarizing, so it is no surprise that the decision announced today by Facebook’s Oversight Board is drawing both praise and objections. 

Facebook has created the most open and transparent adjudication process available to social media users for appealing content removal decisions. By establishing an independent oversight board consisting of a diverse group of global experts from a variety of backgrounds, who review appeals and impose binding decisions on the social network, users can be certain that the most significant content removal decisions go through a thoughtful and deliberative review process. 

The merits of the Oversight Board do not rest on any one decision. Instead, its success or failure should be judged by its impact on the world’s largest social network; by that metric, it is clear that it is creating more fairness and transparency in content removal decisions. 

Moreover, final critical content removal decisions no longer rest in the hands of Mark Zuckerberg or others within the company, but instead go through an independent, external review process that reflect many different global backgrounds. As with any institution, especially one that is little over a year old and is tackling some of the most difficult questions of online speech, there will be opportunities for growth and improvement. But it is useful to remember that you can disagree with a decision and still support the process that created it.

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Agree or Disagree with Facebook’s Oversight Board, Its Decision Is Still A Win for Transparency and Fairness, Says ITIF