Monday December 06, 2021

Activist group mocks FB ‘supreme court’ as moot

September 26, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO: Civil rights activists on Friday announced a mock version of a Facebook oversight board, contending that the social network is being exploited to undermine the US presidential election.

The group, which includes leaders of a #StopHateForProfit campaign and a former member of the Facebook election ad integrity team said it was out to “troll” the social network.

“Facebook is already being used to suppress the black vote in 2020 and we’ve seen all sorts of attacks on black voters across the country,” said Color of Change president Rashad Robinson, a member of the mock board.

“We’re seeing an unprecedented amount of disinformation and misinformation travelling across the platform.” Facebook’s oversight board -- tasked with deciding what is removed or allowed to remain on the world’s biggest social network -- plans to launch in October, to be in place before the US presidential election.

The so-called Facebook “supreme court” is arriving amid rising concerns about misinformation and manipulation around the US election and contingency plans being made by Facebook to deal with a chaotic scenario.

“Given the company’s history of doing only the bare minimum to address issues of hate and disinformation, it is imperative to have independent oversight of these changes to make sure they’re watertight and effective,” Anti-Defamation League president Jonathan Greenblatt said in a release.

A panel to rule on content was first proposed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in 2018, as a “supreme court” which could overrule decisions made by the company regarding what posts stay up and which come down.

Members come from various countries and include jurists, human rights activists, journalists, a Nobel peace laureate and a former Danish prime minister. Facebook, which has set up an independent foundation to operate the board, said it has been working on software that allows the members to review cases from anywhere in the world.

Organizers of the mock Facebook oversight board said its member list includes Robinson and Greenblatt along with NAACP president Derrick Johnson and former president of Estonia Toomas Henrik Ilves.

“Facebook has failed repeatedly at executing the necessary change following countless preventable deaths, sparked by content on their platform, and election meddling by foreign and domestic powers,” Johnson said in a release.