- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 22, 2020

The new oversight board charged with policing Facebook’s content enforcement decisions began accepting cases for review on Thursday.

“From today, if your content is removed from Facebook or Instagram and you have exhausted the company’s appeal process, you can challenge this decision by appealing to the Oversight Board,” the oversight board announced on its website. “Similarly, Facebook can now refer cases for a decision about whether content should remain up or come down. In the coming months you will also be able to appeal to the Board about content you want Facebook to remove.”

The 20-member board’s Thursday morning announcement came as the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to authorize a subpoena of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over his company’s decision to restrict the distribution of news reports about Hunter Biden’s emails that contradict the claims of his father, Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden.

A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on the judiciary committee authorizing a subpoena against Mr. Zuckerberg.

The new oversight board is technically separate from Facebook and is organized as a limited liability company that operates with a $130 million trust fund provided by Facebook.

Earlier this year, board co-chair Michael McConnell said he was not sure the board would be functional before the end of 2020 and called the board’s plan a “long-term project.”

“I, personally, think it’s unfortunate that we’re getting started in an election year but as someone has pointed out to me it’s always an election year somewhere,” Mr. McConnell told The Washington Times in May.

Last month, the board announced it intended to get started in October and said it had begun testing new technical systems that allow users to appeal the board. The oversight board insisted in September that it had not changed its timing and was pursuing an aggressive timetable to launch as soon as possible.

Whether the board will adjudicate any users’ appeal before the 2020 election is unclear. The oversight board’s website said that it expects to decide cases and have Facebook take responsive action on its decisions, “within a maximum of 90 days.”

The oversight board’s Thursday announcement emphasized that all of its decisions will be binding on Facebook and the board said it intends to announce details on the first cases it is choosing to review in the coming weeks.

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