One of the four constitutional scholars who testified at the impeachment hearings on Dec. 3 played an instrumental role in the building of Facebook’s Oversight Board.
Noah Feldman, professor at Harvard Law School and director of the Julis-Rabinowitz Program on Jewish and Israeli Law, testified at the House Judiciary Committee’s public hearing. He told the committee that he believed that President Trump “has committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors.”
He also stated that he believed the House does not need to establish whether or not Trump met with the president of Ukraine in order to impeach him. Feldman wrote, “To impeach President Trump for abuse of power in the form of bribery under the Constitution, it is not necessary to demonstrate that there was any exchange between the two presidents …” According to him, the House can interpret the term “bribery” however it pleases.
Previously, however, Feldman advised Facebook to establish the content oversight board.
In an interview with Fast Company, Feldman explained, “I dreamt up the idea of a ‘Facebook Supreme Court’ at the end of January 2018, and I sent a one-pager [describing it] to Sheryl Sandberg, who said, ‘Let me send it to Mark.’ Mark was intrigued.” After Feldman created a white paper explaining his vision, he was hired by Facebook as an advisor.
The content oversight board would determine what content stays up on the platform versus what gets taken down. Feldman explained, “In its first iteration, the board is going to focus on those decisions where Facebook decides to take some content down or leave it up, like binary decisions. And that’s a huge range of content.”
In a Bloomberg op-ed, Feldman defended what he considered to be social media platforms’ right to censor whatever they please. He said, “Facebook and Twitter are private actors who could censor voluntarily under the Constitution — indeed, their voluntary censorship would itself be protected speech.”
Feldman wrote an op-ed in 2016, before the presidential election, for The Salt Lake Tribune explaining how to deal with Trump voters. He said, “A much better strategy — for both parties — is to engage in selective memory, and to treat Trump voters as though the whole sorry episode of his candidacy never occurred.”