Donald Trump reportedly called Mark Zuckerberg while he was president to oppose Facebook’s Oversight Board.
Shortly after Facebook announced the members of its Oversight Board, an independent panel that would have the power to overrule the social media giant in the interest of human rights, Trump called Zuckerberg to protest the addition of Pamela Karlan, a Stanford Law professor who testified at his 2019 impeachment, according to a report for The New Yorker by Kate Klonick.
Facebook allowed Klonick to spend eighteen months following the Oversight Board’s creation. A person familiar with the process said Zuckerberg listened to the then-president’s complaints but did not change the composition of the board, according to Klonick’s report.
“He used Pam as an example of how the board was this deeply offensive thing to him,” a source told her.
Zuckerberg announced his plan to create the Oversight Board in 2018 to rule on content moderation decisions. The board’s creation also followed a data harvesting scandal involving Trump-linked Cambridge Analytica. The independent board can go over Zuckerberg’s head and Facebook’s existing policies to overrule the social media giant’s decision.
The board launched in 2020 and inaugural members included a Nobel laureate, a former prime minister, and human rights experts from around the world.
The Oversight Board has two months to decide whether Trump should be reinstated to Facebook after the company suspended the former president’s account following the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. Twitter announced Trump is permanently barred from the platform following his role in inciting the violence.
The Oversight Board will review arguments for or against his removal, including a statement from Trump himself.
The New Yorker reported the board originally included 20 members who were paid “six-figure salaries for putting in about fifteen hours a week.” Facebook selected judges through a public portal that received thousands of nominations.
The board delivered its first ruling on five cases earlier this year. As many as 200,000 posts become eligible for appeal every day, per The New Yorker.
Unlike Supreme Court rulings, the board’s justifications for overturning Facebook laws don’t become policy moving forward. Some internet and tech policy experts oppose the board because Facebook can outsource criticism in controversial cases while remaining the platform’s rule-maker, Insider’s Tyler Sonnemaker reported.