OU Law to Host Facebook Town Hall

May 22, 2019 | By Melissa Caperton, Director of Communications
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Media Contact: 
Melissa Caperton
(405) 325-2227

NORMAN — Facebook representatives are gathering in Norman, Oklahoma, to discuss one of the social networking giant’s most pressing issues: the creation of an independent review board to provide oversight on a variety of the company’s content decisions.

The Center for International Business & Human Rights at the University of Oklahoma College of Law will be hosting a town hall meeting that is open to the public, at which Facebook representatives will be present to get feedback on the company’s plan to develop this Oversight Board.  

The town hall will be held from 11 a.m. to noon on Friday, May 31, in the Dick Bell Courtroom at the OU College of Law with lunch provided afterward. It also will be live streamed on the OU Law Facebook page.

Facebook representatives participating in the town hall will include Brent Harris, who leads a team focused on governance and global affairs, and Robert Traynham, who leads external affairs.  

In an effort to gain a broad range of input on how the Oversight Board will operate, in recent months Facebook has launched a series of consultations throughout the world to obtain feedback, prior to the board’s launch. These consultations have occurred throughout the world in places such as Singapore, Kenya, Mexico and India. Within the United States, consultations have occurred in New York, Washington, D.C., Silicon Valley and now in Norman.

At the end of 2018, Facebook shared its intent to create an Oversight Board – a body of independent experts who will review implementation of Facebook’s community standards and evaluate its most challenging content decisions, focusing on important and disputed cases. Facebook has outlined a basic scope and structure of the Oversight Board in a draft charter, which also includes key open questions.

OU Law was selected to host these important consultations because it is home to the Center for International Business & Human Rights, the first center of its kind at a U.S. law school. The center’s mission is to provide: (1) training to students as well as the greater legal community and others in international business and human rights (IBHR) standards and (2) academic think tank support on IBHR issues, with a particular focus on information and communications technology companies and the energy/extractive sector. The center’s director, Professor Evelyn Aswad, was the head of the U.S. State Department’s human rights law office prior to joining the College of Law. She writes extensively in the field of free speech online, including her most recent article, The Future of Freedom of Expression Online, which argues that content moderation should respect international human rights protections for expression.

Limited seating for the town hall is available by reservation for OU students, faculty and staff, and the public. For reservations, more information and accommodations, please click here or call the OU College of Law at (405) 325-7479 or email lawevents@ou.edu. Parking for the event will be available south of Coats Hall, in the lot on the south side of J. Willis Stovall Drive.


Founded in 1909, the OU College of Law is one of the nation’s premier law schools. OU Law offers small sections and class sizes that encourage a strong sense of community; accomplished faculty with international expertise; and a state-of-the-art facility equipped with the latest technology. The OU College of Law is the academic home of more than 800 students enrolled in the juris doctor program, the John B. Turner Master of Laws Program, the master of legal studies program and various dual degree programs. For more information about OU Law, visit law.ou.edu.

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