Facebook's long-promised and much-delayed Independent Oversight Board is finally coming together and could be ready to spring to action in mid-October, just ahead of the November U.S. presidential election.
The board is charged with reviewing decisions regarding the removal of Facebook and Instagram posts. Oversight Board member Alan Rusbridger, a former editor-in-chief of Britain's Guardian newspaper, told Reuters the board has been promised autonomy.
"Facebook has promised they will respect our judgment on those cases of take down and leave up. Now, I guess if Facebook went against their word and didn't respect that promise, then that would raise serious questions about the credibility of the exercise."
Not part of the board's initial duties? Reviewing complaints about what Facebook decides to leave up…neither does it have oversight of Facebook ads or groups.
That may not go down well with critics.
The board was created by Facebook in response to criticism on how it handles problematic content and that scrutiny has only grown.
In recent months, Facebook employees have lashed out against company decisions not to take action over posts from President Trump containing misleading claims about mail-in voting, as well as violent threats against Black Lives Matter protests.
"No, we haven't done a Trump case."
Advertisers and celebrities have also staged numerous boycotts - accusing Facebook of spreading and profiting from hate and misinformation.
On the other hand, Republicans have accused Facebook among other social media platforms of discriminating against conservative viewpoints and suppressing their free speech. Rusbridger knows his group has a delicate balance on its hands.
"God knows there's enough misleading and hateful speech on social media, we know that, but there's an awful lot that is incredibly precious. And 300 years of dealing with those kind of issues about how you protect free speech but deal with bad speech, as it were, and when sometimes you have to allow bad speech as the penalty of having free speech."
The Oversight Board will be asked to make a ruling only after a user has exhausted Facebook's appeal process. The decision will be made within 90 days or even sooner if the request is deemed as having "urgent real-world consequences."