Ensuring respect for free expression, through independent judgement.

As its community grew to more than two billion people, it became increasingly clear to the Facebook company that it shouldn't be making so many decisions about speech and online safety on its own. The Oversight Board was created to help Facebook answer some of the most difficult questions around freedom of expression online: what to take down, what to leave up and why.

The board uses its independent judgment to support people's right to free expression and ensure that those rights are being adequately respected. The board's decisions to uphold or reverse Facebook's content decisions will be binding, meaning that Facebook will have to implement them, unless doing so could violate the law.


THE BOARD

The purpose of the board


The purpose of the board is to promote free expression by making principled, independent decisions regarding content on Facebook and Instagram and by issuing recommendations on the relevant Facebook Company Content Policy.

When fully staffed, the board will consist of 40 members from around the world that represent a diverse set of disciplines and backgrounds. These members will be empowered to select content cases for review and to uphold or reverse Facebook's content decisions.

The board is not designed to be a simple extension of Facebook's existing content review process. Rather, it will review a selected number of highly emblematic cases and determine if decisions were made in accordance with Facebook's stated values and policies.

A central, standalone sphere in the midst of several smaller spheres and graphic lines in motion.
A central, standalone sphere in the midst of several smaller spheres and graphic lines in motion.
A central, standalone sphere in the midst of several smaller spheres and graphic lines in motion.

THE BOARD

The purpose of the board


The purpose of the board is to promote free expression by making principled, independent decisions regarding content on Facebook and Instagram and by issuing recommendations on the relevant Facebook Company Content Policy.

When fully staffed, the board will consist of 40 members from around the world that represent a diverse set of disciplines and backgrounds. These members will be empowered to select content cases for review and to uphold or reverse Facebook's content decisions.

The board is not designed to be a simple extension of Facebook's existing content review process. Rather, it will review a selected number of highly emblematic cases and determine if decisions were made in accordance with Facebook's stated values and policies.


PRINCIPLES

Independence


The board's independent judgment is critical to its function. Board members are being carefully chosen for the diversity of their expertise and the quality of their judgment. To further ensure the independence of its decision-making, both the board and its administration are funded by an independent trust and supported by an independent company that is separate from the Facebook company. The board's structure, responsibilities, purpose and relationship to Facebook are outlined in the Oversight Board charter.

Independent

The board is a separate entity from the Facebook company and will provide its independent judgment on both individual cases and questions of policy. Both the board and its administration are funded by an independent trust.


Accessible

Individuals will be able to appeal Facebook and Instagram content decisions to the board. Anyone whose content is selected for review by the board will have the opportunity to share a statement explaining their position.

Empowered

The board has the authority to decide whether Facebook and Instagram should allow or remove content. These decisions are binding, unless implementing them could violate the law. The board can also choose to issue recommendations on the company's content policies.


Transparent

The board is committed to publicly sharing written statements about its decisions and rationale. Each decision will be published and archived on the board's website. Additionally, the board will release annual reports about its work.


Independent

The board is a separate entity from the Facebook company and will provide its independent judgment on both individual cases and questions of policy. Both the board and its administration are funded by an independent trust.


Empowered

The board has the authority to decide whether Facebook and Instagram should allow or remove content. These decisions are binding, unless implementing them could violate the law. The board can also choose to issue recommendations on the company's content policies.


Accessible

Individuals will be able to appeal Facebook and Instagram content decisions to the board. Anyone whose content is selected for review by the board will have the opportunity to share a statement explaining their position.


Transparent

The board is committed to publicly sharing written statements about its decisions and rationale. Each decision will be published and archived on the board's website. Additionally, the board will release annual reports about its work.

Independent

The board is a separate entity from the Facebook company and will provide its independent judgment on both individual cases and questions of policy. Both the board and its administration are funded by an independent trust.

Empowered

The board has the authority to decide whether Facebook and Instagram should allow or remove content. These decisions are binding, unless implementing them could violate the law. The board can also choose to issue recommendations on the company's content policies.

Accessible

Individuals will be able to appeal Facebook and Instagram content decisions to the board. Anyone whose content is selected for review by the board will have the opportunity to share a statement explaining their position.

Transparent

The board is committed to publicly sharing written statements about its decisions and rationale. Each decision will be published and archived on the board's website. Additionally, the board will release annual reports about its work.

Five persons of varied ethnicities and genders all glancing over their shoulder in the same direction.
Five persons of varied ethnicities and genders all glancing over their shoulder in the same direction.
Five persons of varied ethnicities and genders all glancing over their shoulder in the same direction.

PROCESS

Shaping the board


Facebook has consulted with experts throughout the process of developing the Oversight Board. In its June 2019 report, which summarised the first stage of this consultation, Facebook outlined the feedback it had received from 6 in-depth workshops and 22 roundtables, attended by more than 650 people from 88 different countries. Throughout that period, Facebook also had personal discussions with more than 250 people and collected over 1,200 written submissions on the design of the board. Since the June report, Facebook has continued to consult with experts on topics such as the board's trust, by-laws and membership.


PROGRESS

Shaping the board


November
2018

November 2018

Establishing the concept of the board

Facebook first shared a concept for a body whose independent judgment could help the company make its toughest content decisions.


January
2019

January 2019

Release of draft charter

Facebook published a draft charter that outlined the board's proposed purpose and functions and began to engage experts with its plans.


April
2019

April 2019

Call for public proposals

Facebook solicited public proposals on the board's structure and design.


June
2019

June 2019

Release of global feedback and input report

As part of its global consultation process, Facebook solicited feedback from experts and the public at large and held discussions focused on establishing the final charter. It synthesised key lessons from this first round of global consultations and issued a public report on its findings.


10
countries

countries

1
roundtables

roundtables

10
people attended

people attended

1
in-depth workshops

in-depth workshops

10
one-to-one discussions

one-to-one discussions

100
public submissions

public submissions


September
2019

September 2019

Publication of the final charter

Having been revised based on feedback received, the final charter formalised the responsibilities and governance structure of the Oversight Board.

READ THE CHARTER

October
2019

October 2019

Oversight Board Trust formed

The Oversight Board Trust and supporting independent company were formed, establishing the institution to provide broad oversight and management of the Oversight Board.


Throughout
2020

Throughout 2020

Board begins operations

Board members will begin to be announced in 2020, setting the board up to discuss and formalise desired operating procedures and hear the first case.

PROCESS

The appeals process


01

The appeal

An appeal is submitted to the board.


02

The selection

The Oversight Board determines which cases will be heard.


03

The panel

The board assigns a panel to review each case.


04

The deliberation

The assigned panel comes to a decision.


05

The decision

The board shares the final decision and any policy recommendations.


06

The result

Facebook publicly responds to the board and implements its decision, unless doing so could violate the law.