Facebook on Wednesday appointed Yemeni Nobel laureate Tawakkol Karman as a member of its newly-launched Oversight Board, an independent committee which will have the final say in whether Facebook and Instagram should allow or remove specific content.
Twenty board members have been announced so far include journalists, lawyers and politicians. Members include Denmark’s former prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, former Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger and Internet Without Borders executive director Julie Owono.
Facebook is set to nominate more board members to reach a final count of 40 board members.
“The board uses its independent judgment to support people’s right to free expression and ensure that those rights are being adequately respected,” the company said.
Facebook added the board’s judgments on the social network’s content moderation decisions are “binding”. The company will have to implement them, unless they are in violation of the law.
Karman, a human rights activist, journalist and politician, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her role in Yemen’s Arab Spring uprising. She became the first Yemeni person and first Arab woman to be awarded the prize.
Karman was a member of Yemen’s Al-Islah political party, which is considered a Muslim Brotherhood branch, until she was suspended in 2018 for criticising the Saudi-led coalition’s role in Yemen’s war.
Facebook and its subsidiaries have long come under fire for a perceived failure to implement effective content moderation, which critics believe to have fanned the flames of harmful content such as hate speech, conspiracy theories and widespread disinformation.