Facebook’s long-promised Supreme Court for content won’t be here for a long time

The Facebook Oversight Board that can overrule CEO Mark Zuckerberg is taking longer than expected, and its inauguration is being pushed back, based on a blog post the social media giant published on Tuesday, December 10. 

The Oversight Board was expected to begin deliberating early next year, according to previous reports. However, a new post says the company has put $130 million into the board and is still working to source and review candidates as part of its selection process. 

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Panithan Fakseemuang / 123RF

“We’ve seen strong global interest in serving on the board, and this is a sign that we are heading in the right direction. While we had hoped to announce members by the end of this year, we’ve decided to take additional time to consider the many candidates who continue to be put forward,” wrote Brent Harris, Director of Governance and Global Affairs at Facebook, in the blog post. 

A public portal where people can recommend or self-nominate potential board members has been up since September. There will be 40 members on the Oversight Board who will serve three-year terms, but the catch is that Facebook is choosing the initial founding members, who will then select additional members of the Board. From the looks of Thursday’s updates, Facebook hasn’t made a dent in choosing its founding members. 

Facebook’s $130 million commitment would pay for six years’ worth of salaries for the board members, cover office space and staff expenses, and more.

Zuckerberg initially introduced the idea of an independent body that would provide transparency last November. The Oversight Board would essentially create a mini-judicial branch within Facebook’s empire. It’s meant to create a checks and balances system for Facebook, with the Oversight Board being at the top of the decision-making process, with the Board staff, and Facebook itself following behind.

The creation of the oversight board is also required as part of an historic $5 billion settlement between the social media giant and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) back in July. As part of the settlement, Facebook was required to modify its corporate structure to hold the company more accountable for decisions made about users’ privacy. 

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