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RPC advises Facebook on the much-anticipated independent Oversight Board

Published on 30 October 2020

Law firm RPC has supported Facebook, the world's largest social network and a longstanding RPC technology client, in setting up the much-anticipated Oversight Board, which will hear appeals and issue binding decisions about content moderation on Facebook's platforms.

On 22 October 2020, the Oversight Board announced that it would start accepting cases for review immediately. The launch is an important milestone for Facebook.  As Nick Clegg (Facebook's VP of Global Affairs and Communications) commented in his earlier announcement in May, the Oversight Board marks a fundamental change in the way some of the most difficult and significant decisions around content on Facebook's platforms will be made.

The concept for a separate review body that could exercise independent judgment over content decisions was first proposed by Mark Zuckerberg back in 2018. The Board's first twenty members were announced in May, including a former prime minister and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, as well as legal experts and human rights advocates from around the world. The Oversight Board is set up as a separate entity, operationally autonomous and funded by a $130 million independent trust.

RPC Senior Partner Oliver Bray said: "It's been a real highlight for the RPC team to work alongside Facebook in helping establish a body that will fundamentally change the way the world's leading social network handles content on their platform. It's incredibly satisfying to see the Board start its important new role and we're thrilled to have played our part in helping this come together."  

"Our support for long-standing client Facebook falls right into our sweet spot, not least as RPC's technology team brings together a unique mix of significant digital, tech and media industry knowledge, led by individuals who have become "go to" advisers for many of the world's leading tech companies." 

The Facebook team described RPC's support over the last few months on the Oversight Board's launch as "beyond invaluable", given the myriad of ground-breaking new issues that needed to be grappled with.

RPC's market leading technology team works closely the firm's preeminent IP and media teams and provides a full technology offering of digital, data, consumer and regulatory advice alongside transactional and litigation support to major global technology players and high-profile blue-chip companies. Clients across retail, digital media, financial services, technology, health and communications supply turn to the firm to help them meet the challenges of a fast-changing regulatory landscape, including on some of the largest technology-related outsourcing contracts and disputes. The technology team is ranked as a Top Tier team for both leading Legal Directories, Chambers and Legal 500.