By Brent Harris, Director of Governance and Global Affairs
We are continuing to build the Oversight Board.
We spent the summer taking action on the feedback we received during our global consultation process and today, we’re answering the questions originally laid out in the draft charter by publishing an updated charter.
Meanwhile, the initial group of board members are being sourced, the criteria for vetting and interviewing those members are being finalized, and the tools and training that will empower them to fulfill their roles are being built.
For the board to be successful, all potential members should embody certain principles, such as a commitment to the board as an institution. In addition, we are seeking candidates who are experienced at deliberating thoughtfully and collegially as open-minded contributors on a team, skilled at making and explaining decisions based on a set of policies, and familiar with matters relating to digital content and governance, including free expression, civic discourse, equality, safety, privacy and technology.
After gathering feedback from our consultation process, holding conversations with subject matter experts and consulting industry best practices, we’ve established a six-step process for sourcing and selecting board members.
Getting membership right starts with identifying the widest possible set of diverse candidates from outside of our normal channels. To do so, we’ve taken recommendations from participants from our global consultation and engaged consultants and executive search firms to assist with this process.
In addition, we are partnering with the firm Baker McKenzie, which assisted with our public consultation process, to open a recommendations portal that will allow anyone interested to put forward candidates for future selection.
In order for the board to exercise independent judgment, members must not have actual or perceived conflicts of interest that could compromise their decision-making. We will work with the international law firm Jenner & Block to screen for any such conflicts, including but not limited to: anyone who is a current or former employee of Facebook, or a spouse or domestic partner of an employee; a current government official or lobbyist working on behalf of any government; a high-ranking official within a political party; or a significant shareholder of Facebook.
Following vetting, we will hold interviews with candidates. Working with the global executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles, we will use these interviews to evaluate a candidate’s competency and experience based on a set of strict criteria set out in our Candidate Review Guide. We will continue to refine this guide with the advice of experts.
In order for the board to be effective in its service to Facebook’s large and diverse community, we think it’s important for members to reflect and represent a broad range of knowledge, competencies, backgrounds, perspectives, experience and expertise. In addition to sourcing members from a mix of professional backgrounds and experience, the board will strive for a broad diversity of geographic, gender, political, social and religious representation and perspectives. Other considerations include: members who possess a range of familiarity with technology and digital platforms, as well as constructive critics of Facebook and its policies.
Since every aspect of diversity cannot be represented among the board’s limited membership, it is important for members to be able to call upon additional expertise to provide guidance on local context and cultural norms, and we’re building that capability into the board’s procedures.
Facebook will extend a limited number of offers to candidates to serve on the Oversight Board as co-chairs.
If and when those members accept the role, they will then work together with us to select, interview and make offers to candidates to fill the remaining board positions, over time. All members, including the co-chairs, will be formally appointed by the trustees.
Orientation and Learning
To ensure that all members are able to effectively carry out their work on the Oversight Board, we will invite them for an Orientation and Learning session.
This session will focus on educating board members on Facebook’s policies, policy development and moderation processes and other relevant topics to prepare them for their work, help them understand their roles and forge working relationships with each other.
Our goal is to select and publish the initial board member names this year. We will repeat this process for every new board member until we reach 40 members.
In the future, the board itself will lead the membership selection process, including identifying, screening and selecting future candidates who will continue to be formally appointed by the trustees.
We remain grateful for everyone’s input, insight and recommendations as we build the board.