Meet the three Africans who are on Facebook’s Oversight Board

Facebook has appointed three Africans to its New Global Independent ‘Oversight Board’ for Facebook and Instagram Content.

One of them is Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei.

She is a Ghanaian human rights lawyer and development professional with extensive experience in strategy development, program design, grant management, research, and stakeholder engagement in Southern, Western, and Central Africa.

She has also worked for several international development and philanthropic organizations in different capacities in Africa. She is a graduate of the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa. Her research interests include women, children and disability rights, critical race feminism, and socio-economic rights of the poor.

The other African is Julie Owono from Cameroon.

She is an expert in digital rights and international technology law. Julie Owono is an advocate for Business and Human Rights principles in the technology industry. She is the Executive Director of Internet Sans Frontières, an organization which defends digital rights and access to the internet.

Maina Kiai is the third African on the 20-member board. He is from Kenya.

He is the former United Nations Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Assembly and Association and current Director of the Global Alliances and Partnerships at Human Rights Watch. He was a founding co-director at InformAction, a Kenyan human rights NGO that advanced human rights through documentary film and community-based debate and mobilizing. Throughout his career, Kiai has served in leadership roles in prominent national and international human rights organizations, received many fellowships, and published widely.

The board is expected to tackle increasingly complex and contentious debates about what types of content should and should not be permitted on Facebook and Instagram and who should decide.

The Board’s decision will be implemented by Facebook, as long as they do not violate the law. Oversight Board Members are independent of the company, funded by an independent trust, and cannot be removed by Facebook based on their decisions.

Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei said “the very act of creating this Board shows Facebook has taken the criticism levelled against it seriously and I hope my membership can help address some of these criticisms. I am particularly focused on the Board’s role in improving transparency and accountability, and creating an appeal process where people can bring their content issues. I feel strongly that the Board needs to be truly representative, not just in terms of geography, but age, subject matter, and breadth of issues covered as well.”

Overtime the 20-member board will increase to around 40 members.

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