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Facebook's Oversight Board Will Start Reviewing Content Soon

An independent body created to focus on Facebook's challenging content issues like hate speech and harassment is expected to start reviewing cases in October.

Facebook's  (FB) - Get Free Report independent oversight board may start to review content on its platforms starting next month, media reports suggest.

Both CNBC and the Financial Times reported on the development Thursday.

The independent body that will review Facebook’s decisions about what content to take down or leave up, will start accepting cases in mid to late October, weeks before the presidential election, a spokesperson for the board confirmed.

"We are currently testing the newly deployed technical systems that will allow users to appeal and the Board to review cases. Assuming those tests go to plan, we expect to open user appeals in mid to late October," the oversight board said.

The oversight board will rule on appeals from Facebook and Instagram users and questions from Facebook itself.

It remained unclear if the Supreme Court-style oversight board will be able to act on complaints related to the presidential election on Nov. 3. 

“In terms of passing rulings around the time of the election, the Board will be prepared to consider cases on any matters that come before it and are in scope for us, and it’s premature to guess what the Board may or may not consider until we launch. Whether Facebook will send the Board expedited cases around this time is a question for Facebook,” the board told CNBC.

Its rules allow for a 90-day window for it to decide on a case and for Facebook to act on the decision.

The oversight board was first announced by Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg in November 2018

Since then, more than 2,000 experts and other relevant parties from 88 countries have contributed feedback that has shaped the development of this oversight board, which will have 20 members (ultimately growing to 40), the New York Times reported in May.

In May, Facebook named the first 20 members of the board, including Alan Rusbridger, the former editor of the Guardian newspaper, Andras Sajo, a former judge and VP of the European Court of Human Rights and John Samples, vice-president of the libertarian think-tank, the Cato Institute. 

Shares of Facebook remained largely unchanged at last check on Thursday.