Catalina Botero: member of Fakebooks’ oversight board

Photo of Catalina Botero
Catalina Botero, member of Facebook’s independent Oversight Board 
Photo of Catalina Botero
Photo of Catalina Botero
Catalina Botero, the Dean of the Faculty of Law at the Universidad de los Andes was appointed a member of Facebook and Instagram’s new independent Oversight Board, which is in charge of reviewing decisions made about the content on these two social media platforms. It is committed to defending freedom of expression under a framework of protecting human rights.

Facebook’s official statement announced that the Oversight Board would address ever more complex debates and issues about what types of content should be allowed on or removed from Facebook and Instagram as well as who should make that decision. The board will prioritize the cases that could potentially affect many users, that are highly important for public discourse, or that raise questions about Facebook’s policies. The declaration also affirmed that the decisions taken will be final and binding, and, as such, must be adopted by Facebook as long as they do not contravene any laws.

Although it is not possible to review every case, it is possible to analyze the most pressing and emblematic ones. Catalina Botero explains that they will review “The most pressing to try and avoid human rights violations and the most emblematic as they are the ones that will allow us to create precedents, make decisions in similar cases, and ask Facebook to amend its policies or provide the national and international regulators with criteria to adopt appropriate decisions when moderating Internet content.”
It is essential to create a set of clear rules for moderating Internet content that take Human Rights very seriously.
Catalina Botero
Dean of Law
The international body will initially comprise twenty people from different countries; with different points of view; and with varied professional, cultural, political, and religious backgrounds. It will not be part of Facebook, and, as such, its members will not be employed by the organization. It will be financed by a 130 million dollar trust fund that is completely separate from the Silicon Valley giant, and its decisions will be publicly communicated on its website https://www.oversightboard.com/.

The dean affirmed that “It is fundamental to create a clear set of rules to moderate Internet content that takes the international norms of human rights very seriously as well as, specifically, the international standards in terms of freedom of expression.

For her, it is not desirable that the platforms themselves are the ones in charge of deciding if information that could be of public interest should remain on or be expelled from the digital arena. However, this role should also not be given to governments as, “it is the equivalent of giving them the key to digital censorship, which damages debate and democracy.”

Botero has also worked as special rapporteur for Freedom of Expression at the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights for the Organization of American States (OAS) and as an associate judge at the Constitutional Court of Colombia. She takes on this challenge enthusiastically and committedly.

She concludes by saying that “We are ultimately seeking to try to keep the Internet as it is today, to make sure that its architecture is not destroyed, and that the norms to moderate content that protect human rights do not undermine the democratizing potential of social networks.”


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