As most have heard by now, there is great interest and debate regarding the Facebook Oversight Board and its power to decide users’ complaints that they have been improperly de-platformed (or kicked off a platform) for violating platform rules. In fact, some have questioned whether the Facebook process is “arbitration” – or some other “animal.”
Essentially, the Oversight Board currently has 20 members, including former judges and current lawyers, as well as professors and journalists. It also includes a former prime minister and a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Board members serve a three-year term, and five-member panels decide cases based on facts presented — as well as considerations of free speech. It appears that the board’s decisions are final and Facebook will abide by the decisions. For further information, see https://oversightboard.com/.
It should also be noted that the idea of using arbitration to decide content disputes is not entirely new. For example, Wikipedia uses an “arbitration committee” for resolving disputes regarding its content. The arbitration committee considers requests to open new cases and review previous decisions. The entire process is governed by the arbitration policy. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy.
The policy states in part:
“The Arbitration Committee of the English Wikipedia has the following duties and responsibilities:
The Policy goes on to provide quite elaborate procedures and policies and is transparent in showing the open disputes, as well as those recently closed. Those interested in examining the process, especially as they follow the news regarding the Facebook Oversight Board, should go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy. Interesting stuff!
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