Facebook outlined rules for the Oversight Board's operations and procedures, which is expected to be ready to make decisions by next summer.
The social networking company is proposing a set of bylaws and a summary chart, providing more details on Facebook’s process for implementing a board decision, and announced the Director of Oversight Board Administration.
The bylaws set the rules for the board’s operations and procedures, and reflects the arrangement between the Oversight Board, Facebook and the Oversight Board Trust, which will manage Facebook’s funding for the board.
They spell out the authorities and responsibilities of each entity, as well as the role of the people who use Facebook’s services. Once approved by the board, the bylaws will govern the board’s day-to-day operations.
Facebook is also building a case management tool that will ensure user privacy and provide secure access for board members to review case information.
Cases will initially only involve individual pieces of content that Facebook has taken down, and will be referred to the board through two avenues. First, anyone who disagrees with the outcome of Facebook’s decision to take down their content on Instagram or Facebook, and has exhausted appeals, will have 15 days to submit an appeal to the board. Second, Facebook itself will be able to directly refer significant and difficult cases.
Given the large number of content decisions Facebook makes, as well as the time it will take to hear cases, Facebook expects the board will choose cases that have the greatest potential to guide Facebook’s future decisions and policies. The company expecs the board to come to a case decision, and for Facebook to have acted on that decision, in approximately 90 days.
In order to ensure the board can weigh in on the most significant decisions facing Facebook, including those with real-world implications, Facebook has included a mechanism for expedited review. In these situations, Facebook can refer urgent cases straight to the board for immediate consideration.
Once the initial group of board members is in place and begins operations within the next few months, the board will determine the type of cases it prioritizes and the cadence at which it reviews them.
Facebook is committed to implementing the board’s decision on individual pieces of content within seven days. The company will also assess the technical and operational feasibility of applying the decision to identical content with parallel context.
When the board provides an additional policy recommendation, Facebook will review that guidance. Some recommendations may involve only minor modifications to current policies or practices, while others may involve more substantial or complex changes. The latter will go through our full policy development process or other appropriate channels.
As stated in the bylaws, Facebook will provide a public response regarding any policy recommendations and follow-on action within 30 days.
The board will have a dedicated staff. Staff members won’t be deciding cases, but their duties might involve supporting case selection, facilitating board meetings and ensuring the board has the support necessary to make considered decisions. The staff will also support the trustees regarding their fiduciary and other responsibilities.
Facebook announced that the first Director of Oversight Board Administration will be Thomas Hughes, former Executive Director for Article 19, an international non-governmental organization with a focus on freedom of expression and digital rights. Hughes will lead the board’s administrative staff.
In the coming months, Facebook will announce board members and trustees as the LLC and Hughes continue to hire staff to support the board as it prepares to hear its first cases.