Ghanaian lawyer Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei has been appointed member of a global board to scrutinise content decisions on social media sites Facebook and Instagram.
The lawyer is one of only three Africans on the 20-member New Global Independent ‘Oversight Board’, a statement said.
The others are Julie Owono from a digital rights advocate and Executive Director of Internet Sans Frontières from Cameroon and Maina Kiai, a human rights activist and Director of Human Rights Watch’s Global Alliances and Partnerships program from Kenya.
Speaking to her appointment, Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei said she expects that her involvement would help address criticisms levelled against the two social media sites.
“The very act of creating this Board shows Facebook has taken the criticism leveled against it seriously and I hope my membership can help address some of these criticisms. I am particularly focused on the Board’s role in improving transparency and accountability, and creating an appeal process where people can bring their content issues.
I feel strongly that the Board needs to be truly representative, not just in terms of geography, but age, subject matter and breadth of issues covered as well.”
The Oversight Board will tackle increasingly complex and contentious debates about what types of content should and should not be permitted on Facebook and Instagram and who should decide.
The Board will prioritize cases that potentially impact many users, are of critical importance to public discourse, or raise questions about Facebook’s policies.
Decisions made by the Board must be implemented by Facebook, as long as they do not violate the law. Oversight Board Members are independent from the company, funded by an independent trust and cannot be removed by Facebook based on their decisions.
Afia will work in collaboration with 19 other Members who speak over 27 languages and have diverse professional, cultural, political, and religious backgrounds and viewpoints. Over time the Board will grow to around 40 Members.
While no one can claim to represent everyone, Members are confident that the global composition will underpin, strengthen and guide decision-making.
The Board was designed with transparency in mind.
All decisions will be made public, and Facebook must respond publicly to them. All Board decisions will be published on its website, while protecting the identity and privacy of those involved.
Additionally, the Board will issue a public annual report on its work to evaluate how the Board is fulfilling its purpose and whether Members believe Facebook is living up to its commitments.