Democracy & Elections

The Lawfare Podcast: Facebook’s Thoughts on Its Oversight Board

Jen Patja, Evelyn Douek, Jennifer Broxmeyer, Rachel Lambert
Thursday, August 5, 2021, 12:00 PM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

There have been a thousand hot takes about the Facebook Oversight Board, the Supreme Court-like thing Facebook set up to oversee its content moderation. The Board generated so much press coverage when it handed down its decision on Donald Trump’s account that Kaitlyn Tiffany at The Atlantic called the whole circus “like Shark Week, but less scenic.” Everyone weighed in, from Board Members, to lawmakers, academics, critics and even Lawfare podcast hosts. But there’s a group we haven’t heard much from: the people at Facebook who are actually responsible for sending cases to the Board and responding to the Board’s policy recommendations. Everyone focuses on the Board Members, but the people at Facebook are the ones that can make the Board experiment actually translate into change—or not. So this week for our Arbiters of Truth series on our online information environment, in light of Facebook’s first quarterly update on the Board, Evelyn Douek talked with Jennifer Broxmeyer and Rachel Lambert, both of whom work at Facebook on Facebook’s side of the Oversight Board experiment. What do they think of the first six or so months of the Oversight Board’s work? How do they grade their own efforts? Why is their mark different from Evelyn’s? And, will the Oversight Board get jurisdiction over the metaverse?

Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.
Evelyn Douek is an Assistant Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and Senior Research Fellow at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. She holds a doctorate from Harvard Law School on the topic of private and public regulation of online speech. Prior to attending HLS, Evelyn was an Associate (clerk) to the Honourable Chief Justice Susan Kiefel of the High Court of Australia. She received her LL.B. from UNSW Sydney, where she was Executive Editor of the UNSW Law Journal.
Jennifer Broxmeyer is the Director of Content Governance at Facebook. She leads Facebook’s work on the Oversight Board, an independent body created to answer some of the most difficult questions around freedom of speech online.
Rachel Lambert works on Facebook's Oversight Board.

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