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USA TODAY

Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday that he’s creating an oversight board for people to turn to, to appeal Facebook’s content decisions.

In a public livestream from Georgetown University Thursday, he spoke of the increase in laws and regulations around the world that he said would undermine free expression and human rights.

“I’m committed to the values we’re discussing today, but we won’t always get it right. I understand people are concerned that we have so much control over how they communicate on our services,” Zuckerberg said during his 35-minute speech. “Frankly, I don’t think we should be making so many important decisions about speech on our own either. We’d benefit from a more democratic process, clearer rules for the internet, and new institutions.”

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Zuckerberg said the board “will have the power to make final binding decisions about whether content stays up or comes down on our services – decisions that our team and I can’t overturn.”

He said board members will have a “diversity of views and backgrounds, but who each hold free expression as their paramount value.”

Zuckerberg also gave examples of times when free expression was at risk including the Civil Rights movement and World War I. He said it was another time of “social tension.” 

“We face real issues that will take a long time to work through – massive economic transitions from globalization and technology, fallout from the 2008 financial crisis, and polarized reactions to greater migration,” he said. “Many of our issues flow from these changes.”

Zuckerberg said it’s a “popular impulse is to pull back from free expression” and said we’re at another cross-roads.

“We can continue to stand for free expression, understanding its messiness, but believing that the long journey towards greater progress requires confronting ideas that challenge us,” he said. “Or we can decide the cost is simply too great. I’m here today because I believe we must continue to stand for free expression.”

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko

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