March 2, 2024

Tishamarie online

Specialists in technology

Facebook ‘Supreme Court’ to begin work before US Presidential vote

Helle Thorning-Schmidt

image copyrightGetty Images/Facebook

image captionHelle Thorning-Schmidt and 19 other influential figures will act as independent arbiters of the social network

Facebook’s Oversight Board is “opening its doors to business” in mid-October.

Users will be able to file appeals against posts the firm has removed from its platforms, and the board can overrule decisions made by Facebook’s moderators and executives, including chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.

The timing means that some rulings could relate to the US Presidential election, which is on 3 November.

But one member of the board told the BBC it expected to act slowly at first.

“In principle, we will be able to look at issues arising connected to the election and also after the election,” Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the former Prime Minister of Denmark, explained.

“But if Facebook takes something down or leaves something up the day after the election, there won’t be a ruling the day after.

“That’s not why we’re here. We’re here to take principled decisions and deliberate properly.”

Earlier this week,

Facebook’s global affairs chief Nick Clegg told the Financial Times that if there was an “extremely chaotic and, worse still, violent set of circumstances” following a contested election result, it would act aggressively to “significantly restrict the circulation of content on our platform”.

In theory, the 20-person panel – which has been likened to the US Supreme Court – could force the firm to reverse some of its judgements.

Ms Thorning-Schmidt said that the board had the capacity to examine “expedited cases” but preferred not to do so in its early days.

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