Facebook is reportedly paying its Oversight Board 6-figure salaries only for it to tell the company to solve its own problems

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Facebook is reportedly paying its Oversight Board 6-figure salaries only for it to tell the company to solve its own problems
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Washington D.C. on Oct. 23, 2019Andrew Harnik/AP
  • Facebook pays Oversight Board members six-figure salaries, The New Yorker reported.
  • The Oversight Board recently criticized Facebook for skirting responsibility in banning Trump.
  • The Board requested Facebook review its decision to ban the former president within six months.

Facebook reportedly pays lofty salaries to members of its 'Supreme Court' that can overrule Mark Zuckerberg.

The tech giant pays 20 members of its 20-person Oversight Board - an independent committee that can overrule Facebook's content moderation guidelines - "six-figure salaries for putting in about fifteen hours a week," according to The New Yorker. Facebook allowed law professor Kate Klonick to document the creation of Oversight Board over 18 months.

Facebook gave an independent trust $130 million to manage the Oversight Board's payment and operations. Two hundred thousand posts become eligible for appeal every day, per The New Yorker.

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The Facebook Oversight Board ruled yesterday to uphold the company's decision to ban former president Donald Trump from the platform. But the board criticized Facebook for "avoiding its responsibilities" in defining what constitutes an indefinite suspension, and asked the company to review its decision within six months.

"In applying a vague, standardless penalty and then referring this case to the Board to resolve, Facebook seeks to avoid its responsibilities," the Board wrote. "The Board declines Facebook's request and insists that Facebook apply and justify a defined penalty."

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Read more: Facebook moderators are in revolt over 'inhumane' working conditions that they say erodes their 'sense of humanity'

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Zuckerberg announced his idea for the independent oversight board in 2018 following years of high-profile content moderation scandals. The board can uphold or reverse Facebook's decisions even if they violate the firm's policies.

The salaries for Facebook's Oversight Board are in line with average earnings for employees engineers, data scientists, and business managers. The average Facebook salary for full-time employees is about $240,000.

Members of the oversight board include Nobel laureate Tawakkol Karman, Cato Institute vice president John Samples, human rights lawyer Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei, and Stanford Law professor Pamela Karlan. The group delivered its first ruling in January, voting to overturn four out of five decisions by Facebook to remove content.

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Trump reportedly objected to the makeup of the Oversight Board, particularly Karlan, who testified against him during his 2019 impeachment. Zuckerberg did not replace members of the board despite pressure from Trump.

Content moderators who analyze objectionable or illegal material - like racist posts to graphic images of child abuse - on a daily basis earn less than $29,000, according to The Verge. Facebook contracts these workers from third-party companies, such as Accenture, meaning they do not have access to the tech giant's employee perks.

Facebook was not immediately available for additional comment.

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