Facebook has announced the names of 20 people who will serve on its so-called Supreme Court, an independent body that will make decisions on content moderation.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg going back to 2018 has discussed a plan to create this independent oversight group to which decisions on whether content is removed from Facebook can be appealed, and on Wednesday, Facebook appointed the first people to serve on it. Among them is Helle Thorning-Schmidt, former prime minister of Denmark, Alan Rusbridger, former editor-in-chief of The Guardian, and two law professors whose names, NBC News notes, have been floated as nominees for the actual Supreme Court: Pamela Karlan and Michael McConnell.
Facebook said the oversight board will “exercise independent judgment over some of the most difficult and significant content decisions” and that going forward, it will play an “increasingly important role in setting precedent and direction for content policy at Facebook.” The company also pledged that it will implement the board’s decisions “unless doing so could violate the law.” The board, which will eventually consist of up to 40 people, will also hear appeals on Instagram content.
Coupled with the announcement, four co-chairs of the oversight board penned an op-ed in The New York Times Wednesday, in which they stressed their independence from Facebook and promised to make their decisions “without regard to the economic, political or reputational interests of the company.” Noting they won’t be able to hear all the appeals they get, they said their focus will be on “identifying cases that have a real-world impact, are important for public discourse and raise questions about current Facebook policies.”