Facebook claims its new oversight board, which has the authority to allow or remove content from the platform, is diverse in thought and opinion, but an investigation has determined that 18 out of the 20 members of the board have ties to liberal billionaire George Soros or groups he supports.
Sheryl Attkisson's investigation for RealClearInvestigations revealed that 18 out of 20 members of the "independent" board "collaborated with or are tied to groups that have received funding from George Soros’ Open Society Foundations."
The Open Society Foundation is perhaps the foremost and most well-funded progressive organization in the world. Soros has donated billions to various left-wing causes for decades, and most recently donated over $200 million to Black Lives Matter and another $50 million to elect former Vice-President Joe Biden in the United States.
A recent New York Times op-ed from the oversight board claimed, “The board members come from different professional, cultural and religious backgrounds and have various political viewpoints."
“Some of us have been publicly critical of Facebook; some of us haven’t," the authors of the op-ed wrote, adding that "Facebook committed to creating an independent oversight body that will review Facebook’s decisions about what content to take down or leave up. Over the past 18 months, more than 2,000 experts and other relevant parties from 88 countries have contributed feedback that has shaped the development of this oversight board, which will have 20 members (ultimately growing to 40) and is scheduled to become operational this year.”
Other news articles have played up the diversity and global reach of the board, but the revelation that 90 percent of its members have ties to Soros or his organizations appears to bolster complaints from conservatives that they are being censored by Big Tech.
As an example, the RealClearInvestigations report notes that Evelyn Aswad, a U.S. law professor, is a recipient of a grant from a Knight Foundation that has partnered with Open Society Foundations. Furthermore, Aswad once said that corporations should align their “speech codes with international human rights law” and be guided by “international law on freedom of expression.”
One of the four co-chairs of the board, Columbia University law school professor Jamal Greene, used to be an aide to Senator Kamala Harris. Both Columbia University and Harris have financial ties to the Soros family. On his Twitter, Greene also posted several anti-Trump tweets.
Another co-chair, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, is the former socialist Prime Minister of Denmark, and is a trustee at the International Crisis Group funded by the Open Society Foundation. Moreover, both Soros and his son Alexander are members of the International Crisis Group board.
Other members have received substantial sums of money from the Open Society Foundation.
Catalina Botero-Marino, a co-chair of the Facebook oversight board, is a dean of a Colombian law school that received $1.3 million over two years from Soros’ Open Society Foundations. Botero-Marino also serves as an expert on the panel of Inter-American Dialogue, which receives partial funding by Soros’ Open Society Foundations. As RealClearInvestigations notes, Botero-Marino serves as an expert for Columbia University’s Global Freedom of Expression Project, also funded in part by Open Society Foundations. Finally, Botero-Marino Served was on the board of Article 19, which obtained $1.7 million from Open Society Foundations.
Board member Maina Kiai is the director of Human Rights Watch’s Alliances and Partnerships Initiative, which received $100 million from Open Society Foundations. Kiai was also a founding member of the Kenya Human Rights Commission, which has taken $615,000 from Soros.
Nighat Dad, the founder and executive director of the Digital Rights Foundation, also receives money from Soros’ Open Society Foundations. The Digitls Rights Foundations is a project of Artists at Risk Connection, which in turn is a project of Pen America, which is sponsored in part by Soros’ Open Society Foundations.
Dad was also on the "board of the Soros-funded Dangerous Speech Project" and an "adviser on Amnesty International’s Technology and Human Rights Counsel, funded in part by Soros’ Open Society Foundations."
Title image: George Soros, Founder and Chairman of the Open Society Foundations, looks before the Joseph A. Schumpeter award ceremony in Vienna, Austria, Friday, June 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)