Judicial Watch has taken an in-depth look at the members of Facebook’s recently-appointed oversight board that will decide which posts get blocked. It found that the board “is stacked with leftists, including a close friend of leftwing billionaire George Soros who served on the board of directors of his Open Society Foundations (OSF).” Indeed, more than half of the 20 board members have ties to Soros.
The standout among the Facebook-Soros all-star team is probablyAndrás Sajó, the founding Dean of Legal Studies at Soros’ Central European University. According to Judicial Watch:
Sajó was a judge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for nearly a decade. He also served on the board of directors of OSF’s Justice Initiative. Sajó was one of the ECHR judges in an Italian case (Latusi v. Italy) that ruled unanimously that the display of a crucifix in public schools in Italy violates the European Convention on Human Rights. The decision was subsequently overturned.
Sajó’s deep ties to Soros are also concerning. Through his OSF Soros funds a multitude of projects worldwide aimed at spreading a leftist agenda by, among other things, destabilizing legitimate governments, erasing national borders and identities, financing civil unrest and orchestrating refugee crises for political gain. Incredibly, there is a financial and staffing nexus between the U.S. government and Soros’ OSF.
Sajó will have plenty of Soros-funded company on Facebook’s censorship board:
At least 10 other members of the Facebook oversight board are connected to leftist groups tied to Soros that have benefitted from his generous donations, according to Judicial Watch’s research. Alan Rusbridger, a former British newspaper editor and principal at Oxford University, serves on the board of directors of the Committee to Protect Journalists, which received $750,000 from OSF in 2018. Rusbridger also served as a governor at a global thinktank, Ditchley Foundation, that co-hosted a conference with OSF on change in the Middle East and North Africa as well as understanding political Islam.
Afia Asantewaa Sariyev, a human rights attorney, is the program manager at Soros’ Open Society Initiative for West Africa. Her research includes critical race feminism and socio-economic rights of the poor. Sudhir Krishnaswamy, an Indian lawyer and civil society activist, runs a progressive nonprofit called Centre for Law and Policy Research that focuses on transgender rights, gender equality and public health. The group is a grantee of a justice foundation that received $1.4 million from OSF between 2016 and 2018. Krishnaswamy’s Centre also received money from a radical pro-abortion group, Center for Reproductive Rights, generously funded by the OSF.
Julie Owono is the executive director of a Paris-based nonprofit, Internet Sans Frontieres, that advocates for privacy and freedom of expression online. In 2018, Internet Sans Frontieres became a member of the Global Network Initiative, an internet oversight and policy consortium handsomely funded by Soros.
Nighat Dad is a Pakistani attorney and the founder of the Digital Rights Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Pakistan that has received $114,000 in grants from OSF. Dad’s group also gets funding from Facebook Ireland.
Ronaldo Lemos, a Brazilian law professor, served on the board of directors of the Mozilla Foundation, which collected $350,000 from OSF in 2016 and was also a board member at another group, Access Now, that also got thousands of dollars from Soros. Tawakkol Karman, a journalist and civil rights activist, sits on the advisory board of Transparency International, which gets significant funding from Soros’ OSF.
Rounding out the Soros-affiliated field on the new Facebook censorship board are Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Catalina Botero-Marino and Maina Kiai. Thorning-Schmidt, Denmark’s former prime minister, sits on the board of the European Council of Foreign Relations, which took in more $3.6 million from OSF in 2016 and 2017. She is also a trustee at the International Crisis Group which has collected over $8.2 million from OSF and includes George and Alexander Soros on its board. The former Danish prime minister is also a member of the Atlantic Council’s International Advisory Board, which received approximately $325,000 from OSF in the last few years and the European Advisory Board of the Center for Global Development, which got north of half a million dollars from OSF in 2018.
Botero-Marino is the dean of a Colombian law school called Universidad de Los Andes that obtained more than $1.3 million from OSF between 2016 and 2018, the records obtained by Judicial Watch show. Botero-Marino also sits on the panel of experts at Columbia University’s Global Freedom Expression Project, which gets funding from OSF, and she was a board member at Article 19, a group that got about $1.7 million from OSF between 2016 and 2018.
Kiai is the director of the Global Alliances and Partnerships at Human Rights Watch, which accepted $275,000 from OSF in 2018. He is also a member of OSF’s Human Rights Initiative advisory board and was the founding executive director of the Kenya Human Rights Commission, which got $615,000 from Soros in the last two years.
The Facebook board contains some hardcore leftists with no know connection to Soros. (You don’t need such connections to be a lefty, it just helps if you want to monetize your leftism.) They include Katherine Chen, Nicolas Suzor, Jamal Greene, and Pam Karlan.
Readers probably recall that Karlan took a cheap shot at President Trump’s teenage son during House impeachment hearings (she later apologized). Personally, I don’t think the cheap shot reflects who Karlan is, nor was it the end of the world. However, Karlan’s leftism isn’t in doubt.
With Facebook set to ban content based on the say-so of a board this slanted to the hard left and this connected to George Soros, calls to roll back its protection from defamation suits will become louder. By naming this board, Facebook is basically saying “to hell with conservatives.” Conservatives should answer by saying “to hell with Facebook.”