Presidents of civil society organizations, experts and researchers have announced the launch of a “watchdog” on Facebook. Goal, respond to the “urgent threat to democracy” posed by the social network with the approach of the American elections.
The “Real Facebook Oversight Board” refers to the body that the Californian giant will set up in October to rule on the content to be removed or kept on the platform.
The idea of a panel of independent experts was put forward in 2018 by the founder-founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. He called it a “Supreme Court” capable of overturning decisions made by the company.
But the formation of this council does not convince many NGOs defending rights and freedoms, which accuse the platform of not fighting enough against disinformation, hate messages and manipulative campaigns. These have repercussions in real life and in democratic processes.
“Facebook has repeatedly failed to implement the necessary changes after many predictable deaths, direct consequences of content circulating on its applications, and interference in elections by domestic or foreign powers,” Derrick commented in the statement. Johnson, the chairman of the NAACP, the leading African American civil rights organization.
Other members of this “Council” include Yael Eisenstat, former head of Facebook in charge of political advertising, Roger McNamee, a long-standing investor in the network, Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, Jonathan Greenblatt, head of Anti -Defamation League (which fights anti-Semitism), or Toomas Henrik Ilves, ex-president of Estonia.
Several of these associations launched an advertising boycott of Facebook at the beginning of the summer, followed by hundreds of companies, to ask the Californian firm to better fight against groups that incite hatred or try to discourage minorities from vote.
On Wednesday, major social networks (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) struck a deal with the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) to tackle hate speech online.
For Jonathan Greenblatt, the president of the Anti-Defamation League, these are “first steps”, but these commitments will have to be followed up “to ensure that they are not the kind of empty promises that we we’ve seen too often from Facebook. “