Meet the Indian on Facebook's oversight board which will police content on Facebook and Instagram

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Meet the Indian on Facebook's oversight board which will police content on Facebook and Instagram
File photo of Sudhir KrishnaswamyBCCL
  • The Oversight Board will have the final word on what content Facebook and Instagram should allow or remove, based on respect for freedom of expression and human rights.
  • Sudhir Krishnaswamy is the only representative from India on the board.
  • Krishnaswamy is the India Vice Chancellor of the National Law School of India University, and co-founder of the Center for Law and Policy Research.
Facebook recently announced the list of 20 members on its newly created Oversight Board. The Oversight Board will have the final word on what content Facebook and Instagram should allow or remove, based on respect for freedom of expression and human rights.

Comprising independent members from around the world, the board also has a seat for Sudhir Krishnaswamy, the only representative from India.

Krishnaswamy is the India Vice Chancellor of the National Law School of India University, and co-founder of the Center for Law and Policy Research, an advocacy organization that works for the rights of LGBTQ+ and transgender persons in India through impact litigation.

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The Oversight Board will begin hearing cases soon, although Facebook is still trying to figure out how the board will function and the operational challenges that will come its way because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But the decisions made by the board will be made public, and Facebook will respond to them publicly. “We will publish our decisions on our website, while protecting the identity and privacy of those involved,” said Facebook.

The 45-year old Krishnaswamy is one of the most noted academics in India. A visiting professor in the Ivy leagues of the world, he was also a legal consultant in the Prime Ministers Committee of Infrastructure, Planning Commission in 2006.

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“Content moderation and content control has been a problem in most jurisdictions around the world, India being one of the most affected. Content is currently being controlled by either private companies or the government. Creating a mechanism to oversee a private company is a radical decision; if this works, it provides us with a new way of handling content moderation for the future. It’s as important to democracy as it is to the market,” said Krishnaswamy.

A Rhodes scholar and an Oxford graduate, Krishnaswamy was previously the director of the School of Policy and Governance and Professor of Law and Politics at Azim Premji University, as well as the Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Visiting Professor of Indian Constitutional Law at Columbia Law School.

He is also an author of the book “Democracy and Constitutionalism in India”.

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