Thursday, April 9, 2020

Democrats’ Star Witness Developed Facebook Oversight Board

Harvard Law professor Noah Feldman was one of the Democrats star witnesses’ from yesterday’s hearing, a.k.a. professor-palooza. 

No evidence so far suggests the pompous academic and his colleagues have moved the needle on impeachment.

While that gives us solace, Feldman has played a significant role in monitoring the speech of Facebook users.

According to a June 27, 2019 article in Harvard Law Today:
 

In a new report issued today, Facebook summarized next steps in a plan to establish an independent oversight board for content moderation and appeals. For Harvard Law School Professor Noah Feldman, who first proposed the idea of a content oversight board and continues to serve as an adviser, helping develop a new approach to one of the most vexing challenges confronting social media outlets like Facebook has been one of the most exciting things in his professional life.

In recent years, Facebook has been embroiled in a debate about how the internet giant regulates content on its platform and, in doing so, balances competing values that range from supporting free expression to combatting hate speech. Feldman hatched a potential solution.

An expert in constitutional law, with a special focus on the relationship between law and religion, and free speech, Feldman first pitched the idea for an oversight board to Facebook in January 2018. In his pitch, the noted legal scholar proposed an independent, transparent committee to help regulate the company’s content decisions. Facebook was intrigued and asked Feldman to serve as an adviser, and ultimately write a white paper.

Last November, Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid out a plan that reflected the Harvard Law professor’s suggestion for a new way for people to appeal content decisions through an independent body. Earlier this year, Facebook released a draft charter outlining a series of questions the company sought to answer through a global input process, including public consultation, to form that body. Today’s announcement was the latest step in the process Feldman was instrumental in launching.

 
AAN Staff
AAN Staff
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