WASHINGTON, D.C., May 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A coalition of more than 60 conservative organizations has responded to Facebook’s announcement of the creation of an international “Oversight Board” — packed with leftists and those with ties to globalist George Soros — and which will wield massive power to judge what is acceptable free speech.
“It is terrifying to imagine how a powerful, leftist group like this might … control conservative speech — speech that defends free enterprise, traditional marriage, religious freedom, the lives of the unborn, free speech and gun rights, to name but a few,” wrote the group of conservatives, known as the Free Speech Alliance (FSA), of which LifeSiteNews is a member.
“The board is dominated not by believers in the U.S. Constitution and its protections of rights; it is controlled overwhelmingly by members who live in nations in opposition to such protections,” continues the statement. “The global view of rights — even in countries we consider strong allies like the U.K. or Australia — is as far away from American beliefs as they are geographically.”
According to Oversightboard.com, the Oversight Board was created to “help Facebook answer some of the most difficult questions around freedom of expression online: what to take down, what to leave up, and why.”
“The board uses its independent judgment to support people’s right to free expression and ensure those rights are being adequately respected. The board’s decisions to uphold or reverse Facebook’s content decisions will be binding, meaning will have to implement them, unless doing so could violate the law,” the website adds.
The newly formed group of twenty members has been described as a “Supreme Court–style body” that “will be up and running by the fall, hearing cases and issuing decisions on what content should or shouldn’t be removed from the world’s largest social network,” according to Protocol.com.
That means they will begin to exercise their power to judge “what content to take down or leave up” just as the 2020 presidential campaign season reaches its climax.
Of the four co-chairs, only one, Stanford Law School professor Michael McConnell, is seen to be somewhat conservative. The other three are “reliably liberal.”
- Catalina Botero-Marino, dean of the Universidad de los Andes Faculty of Law of Colombia, is a member of the board of directors of the Center for Reproductive Rights, a pro-abortion group. “That is especially infuriating to pro-life groups that are regularly targeted on social media for their beliefs,” wrote the FSA.
- Columbia Law professor Jamal Greene was an aide to Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) during the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings.
- Former prime minister of Denmark Helle Thorning-Schmidt declared she “does not believe in eternal life, salvation or heaven and hell,” according to the publication Kristligt Dagblad. Thorning-Schmidt is virulently anti-Trump. She recently indicated on Twitter that she wishes Barack Obama were still president of the United States.
“Co-chair of Facebook’s new ‘independent’ Oversight Board (Censorship Overlords) wishes Obama was still President,” tweeted Mark Dice.
Co-chair of Facebook's new “independent” @OversightBoard (Censorship Overlords) wishes Obama was still President. #OversightBoardExposed https://t.co/hMPPFGoUYM
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) May 6, 2020
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“Another ‘fair and impartial’ member of Facebook's new Oversight Board who will decide which uses get banned and what content gets censored,” noted Mark Dice of board member Nighat Dad, who said in 2016, “God forbid if Trump becomes the president, this will be my last visit to US.”
Another “fair and impartial” member of Facebook's new #OversightBoard who will decide which uses get banned and what content gets censored. https://t.co/F49xHsWr8a
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) May 6, 2020
Others constituting the new board have shown great antipathy to President Donald Trump, his children, and conservatives in general.
Board member Pamela Karlan was forced to apologize for a gratuitous attack on President Trump’s young son, Barron, during the Democrat-sponsored impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives last December.
“Democrat ‘witness’ Pamela Karlan is completely UNHINGED,” tweeted Steve Guest.
“She is now attacking Donald Trump's 13 year old son Barron Trump in an attempt to smear President Trump,” he added.
Democrat “witness” Pamela Karlan is completely UNHINGED.
She is now attacking @realDonaldTrump's 13 year old son Barron Trump in an attempt to smear President Trump.#StopTheMadness #JerryRigged pic.twitter.com/4aktNR2Tps
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) December 4, 2019
Alan Rusbridger, former editor of The Guardian, has seemingly gone from supporting a free press to endorsing censorship, according to the FSA. He tweeted in March that the press should shut down President Donald Trump’s coronavirus press conferences.
There is no public interest in spreading disinformation. Completely agree that media should stop live broadcasting Trump, especially since he rejects robust challenge from reporters. https://t.co/7tOESzmzh3
— alan rusbridger (@arusbridger) March 24, 2020
Another board member, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman, said in an interview with the Spanish daily El País that she does “not trust Trump because I do not trust racist people,” according to the FSA statement.
“It’s not just what the members oppose that is the problem. It’s what, and who, they support,” wrote the FSA, pointing out strong ties of some board members to George Soros.
At least three members have ties to leftist billionaire George Soros. One works directly for his Open Society organizations. Another was the founding dean at Central European University, which Soros founded and funded with nearly $1 billion. Even Oversight Board Executive Director Thomas Hughes comes from Article 19, which has received more than $2 million from Soros. …
Soros has far more influence with [the new Facebook] board than the entire American right who are represented by one traditional conservative and one libertarian. Instead of supporting one another on rulings involving key social issues, [the conservative and the libertarian] would likely cancel each other out. …
It is Orwellian. The international left is not open to free speech; it is intolerant of it. It has proclaimed that “climate change” is “settled science,” therefore any challenge based on science is untrue. The gay lifestyle is a moral right. Any challenge to it is an assault on the “dignity of man,” and therefore constitutes hate speech. Abortion “rights” are sacred; therefore the rights of the unborn are non-existent, and therefore their advocates are disingenuous. On and on it goes. …
We believe Mark Zuckerberg was and continues to be committed to the free marketplace of ideas with Facebook a platform and not a publisher. But Facebook has created yet another layer of control over that market, now dominated almost exclusively by non-American leftists.
A “big, big mission”
In an op-ed published in The New York Times, the four co-chairs described the power being handed to them by the social media giant: “The oversight board will focus on the most challenging content issues for Facebook, including in areas such as hate speech, harassment, and protecting people’s safety and privacy. It will make final and binding decisions on whether specific content should be allowed or removed from Facebook and Instagram (which Facebook owns).”
That power could spell trouble for conservatives, who find their voices increasingly pushed out of social media’s public square.
The significance of the new board’s “Big Brother”–type power may well eventually extend beyond Facebook to all the social media giants.
“The board isn't just for Facebook. In designing this new organization, Facebook's leaders deliberately structured it so that it could have a life beyond the company,” explained Protocol.com. “To do that, they formed a separate legal trust with an initial $130 million investment from Facebook. But they also empowered that trust to both accept funding from sources outside Facebook and to form companies of its own. That structure would ensure Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg couldn't just shut down the board if he didn't like its decisions. But it also opens up the possibility that the trust might some day spin off additional oversight boards for, say, YouTube, Twitter or any other platform that makes content moderation decisions.”
“That was conscious on our part in building the trust,” Brent Harris, Facebook’s director of governance and strategic initiatives, told Protocol. “It has been built in a way that it can go beyond Facebook and go to more parts of the industry.”
“This is a big, big mission,” said former prime minister Thorning-Schmidt on a call with reporters Wednesday. “We are basically building a new model for platform governance.”
The FSA offered some advice to the Oversight Board at the conclusion of its statement: “When you announce your next 20 members, ensure that they will balance out the aggressively leftist tilt of this new venture your company has taken.”
“Better yet: Get rid of the whole thing,” they added.
Here is a list of the members of the Free Speech Alliance (FSA):
- L. Brent Bozell III
Founder and President
Media Research Center
- Saulius Anuzis
60 Plus Association
- Brigitte Gabriel
ACT for America
- Lori Roman
American Civil Rights Union
- Phil Kerpen
- Tim Wildmon
American Family Association
- Terry Schilling
American Principles Project
- R. Emmett Tyrrell
Founder and Editor-In-Chief
- Mark Fitzgibbons
President of Corporate Affairs
American Target Advertising
- Gary Bauer
- Richard Manning
Americans for Limited Government
- Tricia Erickson
Angel Pictures & Publicity
- Bill Donohue
Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
- Jeff Hunt
- Austin Ruse
Center for Family and Human Rights
- Elaine Donnelly
Founder and President
Center for Military Readiness
- Frank Gaffney
Center for Security Policy
- John Hinderaker
Center of the American Experiment
- Robert Allman
Christian Broadcasting Network
- Theodore Baehr
Christian Film & Television Commission
- David Bossie
President and Chairman
- Michelle Easton
Clare Boothe Luce Center for Conservative Women
- Ryan Williams
- Penny Nance
Concerned Women for America
- Allen West
Media Research Center
- George Rasley
- Ed Corrigan
Conservative Partnership Institute
- James Nolan
Crossroads Pro-Life Walks Across America
- Eunie Smith
- Tony Perkins
Family Research Council
- Sharon Slater
President and Founder
Family Watch International
- Christie Lee McNally
- Adam Brandon
President and CEO
- Will Chamberlain
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher
- Carrie Lukas
Independent Women's Forum
- Charles Copeland
Intercollegiate Studies Institute
- Mat Staver
Founder and Chairman
- John-Henry Westen
Life Site News
- Steven Ertelt
- Kassy Dillon
Founder and President
- Gene Mills
Louisiana Family Forum
- Justin Danhof
National Center for Public Policy Research
- Brian Brown
National Organization for Marriage
- Gavin Wax
Editor in Chief
- Kevin Freeman
Founder and Chairman
- Craig Strazzeri
Chief Marketing Officer
- James O'Keefe
- Tom Spence
President and Publisher
- Craig Shirley
Founder, Chairman & CEO
Shirley & Banister
- Kristan Hawkins
Students for Life
- Marjorie Dannenfelser
Susan B. Anthony List
- Jenny Beth Martin
Tea Party Patriots, Inc.
- Preston Noell
The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property
- Jim Lakely
Vice President and Director of Communications
The Heartland Institute
- Morton Blackwell
The Leadership Institute
- Rod Martin
Founder and CEO
The Martin Organization
- Ryan Bomberger
Chief Creative Officer
The Radiance Foundation
- Paul Gessing
The Rio Grande Foundation
- Floyd Brown
- Joseph Farah
CEO and Editor
- Amy Kremer
Co-founder & Chairman
Women for Trump
- Jessica Jensen
Chief of Staff
Young America's Foundation