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Facebook oversight board plans to launch just before U.S. election

Updated 24 Sep, 2020
FILE PHOTO: A Facebook logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration taken January 6, 2020. REUTERS
FILE PHOTO: A Facebook logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration taken January 6, 2020. REUTERS

(Reuters) - Facebook Inc’s long-delayed independent Oversight Board plans to launch in mid-late October, just before the November U.S. presidential election, although a board member said he did not know whether it would hear cases related to the contest.

The board, announced by Facebook in response to criticism of its handling of problematic content, will initially have the power to review decisions to take down posts from Facebook and Instagram, and recommend policy changes.

Some experts have said it will not be able to help combat misinformation, because it will have no authority at first to evaluate posts that the company decides to leave up.

Oversight Board member Alan Rusbridger told Reuters in an interview that the board was now aiming for an October launch. A spokesman confirmed that timetable, saying the launch, originally planned for last year, had also been slowed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Rusbridger said he did not know whether the board would hear cases about content connected to the U.S. presidential election.