A year and a half after announcing its creation, Facebook has named the initial 20 members of its oversight board, a quasi-independent panel that is to make decisions on thorny issues.

The board's members were named by Facebook and hail from a broad swath of regions around the world. They include Tawakkol Karman, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate from Yemen, Alan Rusbridger, the former editor-in-chief of British newspaper The Guardian, and Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the former prime minister of Denmark.

The oversight panel is intended to rule on difficult content issues, such as whether Facebook or Instagram posts constitute hate speech. It will be empowered to make binding rulings on whether posts or ads violate the company's standards. Any other findings it makes will be considered “guidance” by Facebook.

Critics call the oversight board a bid by Facebook to forestall regulation or even an eventual breakup.

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