More than 4.4 billion people use social media. A few platforms attract a significant number of those users—for example, 2.9 billion people use Facebook, 2.3 billion use YouTube, and 1.2 billion use WeChat. How these major platforms govern themselves with respect to content moderation has an impact on billions of users and may lead to policy changes across other platforms that affect billions more. That is why it is so important to analyze Meta’s Oversight Board—an independent body created for the purpose of “promot[ing] free expression by making principled, independent decisions regarding content on Facebook and Instagram by issuing recommendations on the relevant Facebook company content policy.” Though decisions made by the Oversight Board with respect to specific posts receive substantial media attention, less attention has been paid to the structure of the Board as well as how the Board plans to expand to increase the number of posts it reviews per year. This article aims to fill that gap. Lessons from the evolution of the federal court system in the United States provide the template from which this article will make recommendations for the expansion of the Oversight Board. This article argues that the Board, at least in theory, shares much in common with federal courts—making those courts a valuable source of information on the ways in which the Board and Meta’s content adjudication system should evolve. The first lesson for the Board from the evolution of the federal court system is that—in response to increases in the Board’s jurisdiction and caseload—the Board must make timely adjustments to its structure, including creating lower courts or “Content Moderation Commissions” (CMCs) and increasing the number of members on the Board. The second lesson is that Board members and CMC commissioners must reflect the diversity of users on platforms under their jurisdiction and possess the expertise necessary to address the complexity presented by appeals. The third lesson is that Meta should cede authority to the Board over when and how to select content adjudicators so that the Board and CMCs can develop in a more appropriate and flexible fashion.
Learning From Mistakes: A Guide to Expanding the Oversight Board,
Cath. U. J. L. & Tech
Available at: https://scholarship.law.edu/jlt/vol31/iss2/5
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