How Unbundling and ‘Literacy Friction’ Might Influence the (Facebook) Oversight Board’s Decision on Trump

  1. Providing free storage for new and existing content.
  2. Enabling free broadcasting to a large audience.
  3. Allowing one to pay to advertise and broadcast across Facebook properties.
  4. Enabling one to target this advertising in a variety of ways.
  5. Providing free analytics for understanding how page posts perform.
  1. Allowing frictionless submission of arbitrary amounts and types of content — instantaneously and without review.
  2. Enabling near frictionless access to content through links and search.
  3. Enabling near frictionless re-sharing of content.
  4. Recommending content such as videos.
  5. Enabling the frictionless creation of unmoderated conversational spaces in the comment section of posts.
  6. Associating content with the Facebook brand[3].
  • Disabling all broadcasting and recommendations of posts.
  • Enforcing a 7 day delay before a submitted post is shown on the platform.
  • Limiting a user to 3 posts per week
  • Manual expert review of posts before submission for violations.[6]
  • Disabling comments, reactions, and resharing for posts.

Footnotes

[1] The long term impacts of deplatforming are unclear, especially for those with huge audiences.
[2] One can further unbundle other aspects of a Facebook account, including components crucial to many; such as the ability to send direct messages. While those capabilities may be outside of the scope of this case, they have extremely significant impacts on the ordinary Facebook user.
[3] Facebook’s consistent and iconic visual design is instantly recognizable in screenshots, which can then be deployed to other media, from Twitter to cable news and may potentially lend legitimacy to a message, particularly for a verified account. This could be a significant concern, and it may be challenging to address this without unintended negative consequences.
[4] This could be a significant engineering burden for the company to implement, depending on their current architecture, but this should not unduly influence board recommendations which may help guide future architectural decisions. That said, while some of these recommendations may provide value, it may be important to evaluate if the societal benefits of implementing them are higher than that of other changes that could be made with a similar level of resourcing.
[5] It is worth noting that Facebook did appear to act in a more nuanced way than e.g. Twitter in this regard, by doing at least some unbundling—by continuing to allow the storage and access of old posts.
[6] Perhaps even with some monetary cost per post to cover the costs of review.
[7] For example, verifying competence in a literacy domain every 3 months to retain access.
[8] There are significant challenges around coverage and languages; we believe those are resolvable.

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Aviv Ovadya

Aviv Ovadya

Founder of the Thoughtful Technology Project & GMF non-res fellow. Prev Tow fellow & Chief Technologist @ Center for Social Media Responsibility. av@aviv.me