This month Facebook launched its Oversight Board. The move reflects Facebook's position that the private tech companies should not be making decisions on what is and is not acceptable digital content.
Staffed with global experts on issues of freedom of speech, privacy and law, the Board is independent of Facebook but funded by a $130m trust. The Board will make decisions on content that users claim has wrongfully been taken down and focus on those emblematic cases where an independent determination is required, as well as issuing policy advisory opinions on Facebook's content policies.
As always, Facebook has come in for considerable criticism for the new Board; with commentators objecting to the "hubris" of Facebook positioning itself to take these decisions and freedom of speech advocates concerned of the potential censorship risks. However, the direction of travel for online harms regulation and policy both at EU and in the UK is towards platforms remaining responsible for determining their own acceptable content policies - but then being transparent and consistent in how those are applied. In that context Facebook's Oversight Board looks more like getting ahead of the (regulatory) game.
Visit our digital content and reputation risk hub (Hub) for details & for our online harms client series & upcoming webinar.