Conservatives denounce Facebook’s new ‘Oversight Board’ for judging ‘free expression’

The international ‘Oversight Board’ is packed with leftists. It will wield massive power to judge what is acceptable free speech.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

By Doug Mainwaring, LSN

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WASHINGTON, D.C., May 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A coalition of more than 60 conservative organizations has responded to Facebook’s announcement of the creation of an international “Oversight Board” — packed with leftists and those with ties to globalist George Soros — and which will wield massive power to judge what is acceptable free speech.

“It is terrifying to imagine how a powerful, leftist group like this might … control conservative speech — speech that defends free enterprise, traditional marriage, religious freedom, the lives of the unborn, free speech and gun rights, to name but a few,” wrote the group of conservatives, known as the Free Speech Alliance (FSA), of which LifeSiteNews is a member.

“The board is dominated not by believers in the U.S. Constitution and its protections of rights; it is controlled overwhelmingly by members who live in nations in opposition to such protections,” continues the statement.  “The global view of rights — even in countries we consider strong allies like the U.K. or Australia — is as far away from American beliefs as they are geographically.”

According to Oversightboard.com, 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 those rights are being adequately respected. The board’s decisions to uphold or reverse Facebook’s content decisions will be binding, meaning will have to implement them, unless doing so could violate the law,” the website adds.

The newly formed group of twenty members has been described as a “Supreme Court–style body” that “will be up and running by the fall, hearing cases and issuing decisions on what content should or shouldn’t be removed from the world’s largest social network,” according to Protocol.com.

That means they will begin to exercise their power to judge “what content to take down or leave up” just as the 2020 presidential campaign season reaches its climax.

Of the four co-chairs, only one, Stanford Law School professor Michael McConnell, is seen to be somewhat conservative.  The other three are “reliably liberal.”

  • Catalina Botero-Marino, dean of the Universidad de los Andes Faculty of Law of Colombia, is a member of the board of directors of the Center for Reproductive Rights, a pro-abortion group. “That is especially infuriating to pro-life groups that are regularly targeted on social media for their beliefs,” wrote the FSA.
  • Columbia Law professor Jamal Greene was an aide to Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) during the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings.
  • Former prime minister of Denmark Helle Thorning-Schmidt declared she “does not believe in eternal life, salvation or heaven and hell,” according to the publication Kristligt Dagblad. Thorning-Schmidt is virulently anti-Trump. She recently indicated on Twitter that she wishes Barack Obama were still president of the United States.

“Co-chair of Facebook’s new ‘independent’ Oversight Board (Censorship Overlords) wishes Obama was still President,” tweeted Mark Dice.

The endorsement!! OMG, Miss the voice of decency and grace

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“Another ‘fair and impartial’ member of Facebook’s new Oversight Board who will decide which uses get banned and what content gets censored,” noted Mark Dice of board member Nighat Dad, who said in 2016, “God forbid if Trump becomes the president, this will be my last visit to US.”

Another “fair and impartial” member of Facebook’s new who will decide which uses get banned and what content gets censored. https://twitter.com/nighatdad/status/788913314428583936 
Others constituting the new board have shown great antipathy to President Donald Trump, his children, and conservatives in general.

Board member Pamela Karlan was forced to apologize for a gratuitous attack on President Trump’s young son, Barron, during the Democrat-sponsored impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives last December.

“Democrat ‘witness’ Pamela Karlan is completely UNHINGED,” tweeted Steve Guest.

“She is now attacking Donald Trump’s 13 year old son Barron Trump in an attempt to smear President Trump,” he added.

Democrat “witness” Pamela Karlan is completely UNHINGED.

She is now attacking @realDonaldTrump‘s 13 year old son Barron Trump in an attempt to smear President Trump.
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Alan Rusbridger, former editor of The Guardian, has seemingly gone from supporting a free press to endorsing censorship, according to the FSA. He tweeted in March that the press should shut down President Donald Trump’s coronavirus press conferences.

There is no public interest in spreading disinformation. Completely agree that media should stop live broadcasting Trump, especially since he rejects robust challenge from reporters. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/media/the-media-must-stop-live-broadcasting-trumps-dangerous-destructive-coronavirus-briefings/2020/03/21/b8a2a440-6b7c-11ea-9923-57073adce27c_story.html 

Perspective | The media must stop live-broadcasting Trump’s dangerous, destructive coronavirus…

He’s just using them as a substitute for his rallies. Put him on tape delay so journalists can counter his rush of misinformation.
Another board member, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman, said in an interview with the Spanish daily El País that she does “not trust Trump because I do not trust racist people,” according to the FSA statement.

“It’s not just what the members oppose that is the problem. It’s what, and who, they support,” wrote the FSA, pointing out strong ties of some board members to George Soros.

At least three members have ties to leftist billionaire George Soros. One works directly for his Open Society organizations. Another was the founding dean at Central European University, which Soros founded and funded with nearly $1 billion. Even Oversight Board Executive Director Thomas Hughes comes from Article 19, which has received more than $2 million from Soros. …

Soros has far more influence with [the new Facebook] board than the entire American right who are represented by one traditional conservative and one libertarian. Instead of supporting one another on rulings involving key social issues, [the conservative and the libertarian] would likely cancel each other out. …

It is Orwellian. The international left is not open to free speech; it is intolerant of it. It has proclaimed that “climate change” is “settled science,” therefore any challenge based on science is untrue. The gay lifestyle is a moral right. Any challenge to it is an assault on the “dignity of man,” and therefore constitutes hate speech. Abortion “rights” are sacred; therefore the rights of the unborn are non-existent, and therefore their advocates are disingenuous. On and on it goes. …

We believe Mark Zuckerberg was and continues to be committed to the free marketplace of ideas with Facebook a platform and not a publisher. But Facebook has created yet another layer of control over that market, now dominated almost exclusively by non-American leftists.

A “big, big mission”

In an op-ed published in The New York Times, the four co-chairs described the power being handed to them by the social media giant: “The oversight board will focus on the most challenging content issues for Facebook, including in areas such as hate speech, harassment, and protecting people’s safety and privacy. It will make final and binding decisions on whether specific content should be allowed or removed from Facebook and Instagram (which Facebook owns).”

That power could spell trouble for conservatives, who find their voices increasingly pushed out of social media’s public square.

The significance of the new board’s “Big Brother”–type power may well eventually extend beyond Facebook to all the social media giants.

“The board isn’t just for Facebook. In designing this new organization, Facebook’s leaders deliberately structured it so that it could have a life beyond the company,” explained Protocol.com. “To do that, they formed a separate legal trust with an initial $130 million investment from Facebook. But they also empowered that trust to both accept funding from sources outside Facebook and to form companies of its own. That structure would ensure Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg couldn’t just shut down the board if he didn’t like its decisions. But it also opens up the possibility that the trust might some day spin off additional oversight boards for, say, YouTube, Twitter or any other platform that makes content moderation decisions.”

“That was conscious on our part in building the trust,” Brent Harris, Facebook’s director of governance and strategic initiatives, told Protocol. “It has been built in a way that it can go beyond Facebook and go to more parts of the industry.”

“This is a big, big mission,” said former prime minister Thorning-Schmidt on a call with reporters Wednesday. “We are basically building a new model for platform governance.”

The FSA offered some advice to the Oversight Board at the conclusion of its statement: “When you announce your next 20 members, ensure that they will balance out the aggressively leftist tilt of this new venture your company has taken.”

“Better yet: Get rid of the whole thing,” they added.

Here is a list of the members of the Free Speech Alliance (FSA):

May 12, 2020 | 1 Comment » | 244 views

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