British MP slams Brotherhood sympathizer’s appointment to Facebook Oversight Board

Karman has long been linked with controversial and extremist factions within Yemen. (REUTERS)
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Updated 30 May 2020

British MP slams Brotherhood sympathizer’s appointment to Facebook Oversight Board

  • UK government investigation into Karman's appointment could begin in July

LONDON: British MP Ian Paisley has called Facebook’s decision to appoint Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer Tawakkol Karman to its oversight board “unbelievable.”

Karman rose to prominence as part of Al-Islah Party, a Yemeni affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood known for its divisive and violent agenda. Her appointment to Facebook’s Oversight Board, the body established to arbitrate on the content allowed on the platform, has drawn global ire.

In an online discussion, British MP Ian Paisley expressed disbelief at her appointment.

“This decision by Facebook, I believe, is so counterintuitive, it’s unbelievable,” he said.

“We have an organisation that’s set up to have a transparency process, and they then appoint (Karman), who frankly is not, and cannot be, regarded as fit to be in the position (she has) been appointed to,” he continued.

Paisley announced that he had written to Facebook about Karman's appointment, and has called on the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to investigate their conduct in this regard. He said the department has agreed in principle that an investigation should take place and that it could begin as early as July.

He also called on the social media giant to remove Karman from the board: “They don’t need to wait for an investigation. Facebook needs to take immediate action. They need to do the right thing.

“Whether we are from Christian, Muslim or Jewish backgrounds, we need to speak out as one and say we are for free speech, but not for the abuse of that free speech,” Paisley said.

Facebook stated that it created the Oversight Board “to exercise independent judgment over some of the most difficult and significant content decisions.”

But Paul Tweed, an international media lawyer, expressed concern at the company’s process of appointing board members and its very existence.

“In addition to being their own judge, Facebook now has their own jury. This is tantamount to a defendant in a criminal case being able to choose their court, judge and jury,” he said.

Tweed held particular contempt for the way Karman and other members were selected for the Oversight Board. 

“Who has picked them? Who has put these 20 people in place? Facebook picked them, and that’s not fair.”


US officials to ban TikTok, WeChat downloads from Sunday

Updated 18 September 2020

US officials to ban TikTok, WeChat downloads from Sunday

  • The move comes amid rising US-China tensions over technology

WASHINGTON: US officials on Friday ordered a ban on downloads of the popular Chinese-owned mobile applications WeChat and TikTok from Sunday, saying they threaten national security.
The move comes amid rising US-China tensions over technology and a Trump administration effort to engineer a sale of the video app TikTok to American investors.
“The Chinese Communist Party has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the US,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.
The initiative would ban WeChat, an app with massive use among Chinese speakers, and TikTok from the online marketplaces operated by Apple and Google.