Facebook content oversight member reportedly linked to Muslim Brotherhood

Yemeni Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Tawakkol Karman has been picked as one of 20 members of the new board, but has in the past proclaimed support for the Islamist organization.

Women Journalists Without Chains co-founder and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman attends the annual Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany February 17, 2019. (photo credit: REUTERS/ANDREAS GEBERT)
Women Journalists Without Chains co-founder and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman attends the annual Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany February 17, 2019.
A member of Facebook's new oversight board, which will have control of the content moderation process for the social media platform, has in the past expressed support for the Muslim Brotherhood, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) and media reports.
On Wednesday, Facebook announced the first 20 members of its oversight board, which has been handed the final say on what user-generated content the platform removes. Among the members are Yemeni Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Tawakkol Karman, who was awarded the accolade for her role in the Arab Spring.
However, she also appears to have links to the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been proscribed as a terror organization by several countries including Saudi Arabia, Russia and Bahrain. The Muslim Brotherhood has stated that its aim is the establishment of a state run under Sharia law. It is also the precursor to Hamas.
When Karman won the peace prize in 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood's official website, Ihkwanweb, put out a statement congratulating her and recognizing her as a member of a Muslim Brotherhood branch.
The statement, dated October 9, 2011, read: "Dr. Abdul-Rahman Ba-Fadel, president of the parliamentary bloc of the Yemeni Congregation for Reform (YCR), Yemen's Muslim Brotherhood, congratulated the Yemeni political activist Tawakkul Karman, member of the YCR, for winning the Nobel Peace Prize."
Karman herself has also made public statements in support of the Muslim Brotherhood.
A report by MEMRI noted that in an interview on BBC Arabic TV on September 15, 2013, Karman said, "The most important achievement of the January [2011] Revolution [in Egypt] was the abolishment of the emergency law. Unfortunately, the July 3 [2013] coup reinstated that law. The Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters, who oppose the military rule, are engaged in a legendary struggle, which they are waging with their blood, their resolute steadfastness, and their belief that they will restore the revolution to its true path."
The interviewer asked whether she supported the Muslim Brotherhood, and she replied: "You can hear it from me: Yes, at this stage, I am partial towards the Muslim Brotherhood..."
Facebook's oversight board members have been handed considerable powers regarding what content may be shared on the platform.
In an op-ed published by the New York Times on Wednesday, the four co-chairs of the group, who were involved in hand-picking the 16 others members, including Karman, explained that the board has been awarded a $130 million trust fund to carry out its work completely independent of Facebook, and that its decisions cannot be revoked by Facebook unless they are found to violate the law.
The board members will contract directly with the board, and will serve fixed terms of three years, up to a maximum of three terms.
"We cannot be removed by Facebook," they wrote. "Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, has also personally committed to this arrangement."
Defining the mission of the board, they wrote, "We know that social media can spread speech that is hateful, harmful and deceitful. In recent years, the question of what content should stay up or come down on platforms like Facebook, and who should decide this, has become increasingly urgent.
"The oversight board will focus on the most challenging content issues for Facebook, including in areas such as hate speech, harassment and protecting people’s safety and privacy," the statement continued. "It will make final and binding decisions on whether specific content should be allowed or removed from Facebook and Instagram." 
Facebook owns Instagram.
"The members announced today reflect a wide range of views and experiences," Facebook said in a statement. "They have lived in over 27 countries, speak at least 29 languages and are all committed to the mission of the Oversight Board. We expect them to make some decisions that we, at Facebook, will not always agree with – but that’s the point: they are truly autonomous in their exercise of independent judgment. We also expect that the board’s membership itself will face criticism. But its long-term success depends on it having members who bring different perspectives and expertise to bear."