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International and European Law before the Meta Oversight Board

Völkerrechtliche Tagesthemen: Spotlight (Episode 44)


This episode of the Völkerrechtliche Tagesthemen focuses on the International and European Law before the Meta Oversight Board. In January 2021, the Meta Oversight Board published its first decisions regarding content decisions of Facebook and Instagram. According to its Charter, the Oversight Board was established “to protect free expression by making principled, independent decisions about important pieces of content and by issuing policy advisory opinions on Meta’s content policies.”

At first glance, the Oversight Board is a form of private governance, reviewing the content moderation decisions of a private company. Yet this private nature belies its public function and global importance. In its short period of operation, the Oversight Board has referred to an array of international and regional instruments in its decisions, including human rights treaties, General Comments, and reports of UN Special Rapporteurs. The Oversight Board has also taken decisions of fundamental importance to states, involving decisions related to elections, outbreaks of violence and access to information. The lecture will discuss the ways in which the Oversight Board has used international and European law in its early decisions. Can the Oversight Board help develop international law and human rights law? How should public international law conceive these private forms of international governance?


Jed Odermatt
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