$130M for oversight board; but no members until 2020

Facebook said Thursday it will commit $130 million to support the efforts of its independent oversight board, but that the board itself will not start its work until sometime in 2020.

In a company blog post, Brent Harris, Facebook’s director of governance and global affairs, said the company has been going through the process of creating “a new organization with independent oversight over how Facebook makes decisions on content” since Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg outlined his vision for the board in November 2018. In September of this year, Facebook gave some details about how it was selecting board members, and set up a site where anyone could make a recommendation for a board member.

Harris said that Facebook has “made progress building the infrastructure that the board will need to deliberate cases. This includes a new case management tool which will provide secure access to case information and allow board members to collaborate from locations all over the world.”

However, the overall process has taken longer than initially expected, and board members won’t likely be announced until late January, at the earliest.

The premise behind the board’s creation is that it will be able to make final decisions regarding if content, including ads and video, should be displayed on Facebook, and will also have the power to overrule Zuckerberg on such matters. Facebook, as a company, and users can submit cases to the board, and Facebook will be have to make public any recommendations it reaches.

Harris said the $130 million being allocated to the board will be used for operational expenses such as office space and travel for board members. The funding is anticipated to cover at least the first two terms of the oversight board, or six years.

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