Facebook appoints Kenyan human rights advocate Maina Kiai to content oversight board

Kenyan Human rights defender Maina Kiai. [Photo Capital FM]

Kenyan human rights defender Maina Kiai has been appointed on Facebook’s board with the mandate of deciding what content should and be allowed on the platform, including Instagram and which one should be removed.

Kiai, a former United Nations special rapporteur will be among 20 other appointees from 27 countries in the Oversight Board Members who speak 29 different languages.

The human rights advocate is the director of Human Rights Watch’s Global Alliances and Partnerships Programme. 

“The oversight board represents a new model of content moderation for Facebook and Instagram and today, we are proud to announce our initial members,” Facebook said in a statement.

“The board will review whether content is consistent with Facebook and Instagram’s policies and values, as well as a commitment to upholding freedom of expression within the framework of international norms of human rights,” it added.

Kiai is one of the three board members picked from the African continent. Facebook said that it is confident that the new board members will represent their regions sufficiently.

“While we cannot claim to represent everyone, we are confident that our global composition will underpin, strengthen and guide our decision-making,” the company stated.

It added: “All Board Members are independent of Facebook and all other social media companies…Members contract directly with the Oversight Board, are not Facebook employees and cannot be removed by Facebook. Our financial independence is also guaranteed by the establishment of a $130 million trust fund that is completely independent of Facebook, which will fund our operations and cannot be revoked. All of this is designed to protect our independent judgment and enable us to make decisions free from influence or interference.”

The board will start working immediately. It is set to start hearing cases in the coming months while assessing how to fully bolster the board by “recruiting staff, training Members and implementing tools essential to ensuring data privacy and security.”