Meta has committed to keeping its Oversight Board running by providing ongoing financial support. The company has pledged to fund the board's operations with a contribution of an additional $150 million. Meta previously earmarked $130 million for the board's trust when it was set up in 2019.
The Oversight Board says the money, which is irrevocable under the terms of the trust, can only be used to fund, manage and oversee its operations. “By making this ongoing financial commitment, Meta has issued a vote of confidence in the work of the board and its efforts to apply Facebook and Instagram content standards in a manner that protects freedom of expression and pertinent human rights standards,” Oversight Board Trust chairperson Stephen Neal said.
We’re delighted to announce that Meta has committed ongoing financial support for the Board, including a new $150 million contribution to the Oversight Board Trust to support our operations. 🧵
— Oversight Board (@OversightBoard) July 22, 2022
The Oversight Board reviews certain content moderation decisions made by Facebook and Instagram and provides recommendations to Meta. Through the lens of human rights standards, it also assesses Meta's policies and how it enforces them. The board says it has received more than a million appeals from users against moderation decisions. To date, it has issued 25 binding decisions on cases and made 118 policy suggestions, while asking many questions of Meta's practices.
The board started making decisions on cases in January 2021 and it wasn't long before a major case dropped into its lap: Meta's decision to suspend Donald Trump indefinitely from its platforms after the events of January 6th, 2021. The board ultimately determined that Meta was "justified" in blocking Trump, but argued that its reasoning for an indefinite ban meant that suspending Trump for an indeterminate period of time was not within the company's remit. As such, Meta limited the suspension to two years.
The Oversight Board has had an impact on other Meta moderation decisions and policies to the point where the company said it could not keep up with all the recommendations. Among other things, Meta has added an exception for satire to its community standards, clarified its rules on hate speech and beefed up its anti-doxxing policies. Meanwhile, the board has been critical of Meta on other fronts, such as its lack of transparency over VIP moderation rules.