Biden Administration

Facebook Oversight Board Member Joins Biden DOJ

Pam Karlan joins growing list of former FB employees in new administration

(Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

One of Facebook’s original Oversight Board members tasked with handing down binding rulings on content moderation is leaving to join the Justice Department. The move marks a growing pattern of Facebook employees adding to the ranks of the Biden administration.

Pamela Karlan will serve as principal deputy assistant attorney general in the civil rights division, an Oversight Board representative announced Saturday.

The coterie of former Facebook employees now serving in the Biden administration includes Jeff Zients, coronavirus czar, and Erskine Bowles, a transition team adviser, both served on Facebook’s board. Biden’s staff secretary is Jessica Hertz, formerly a lawyer focused on regulatory affairs for the social media giant in Washington, D.C.

A professor at Stanford, Karlan previously took a leave of absence from the board to volunteer on the Biden transition team. She had not participated in any of the cases on which the Oversight Board ruled, including the upcoming case to determine whether President Trump will be allowed back on Facebook.

"Working with my colleagues on the Oversight Board to build a fairer and more effective approach to content moderation has been an honor," Karlan said in a statement. "The Board has a critical role to play in holding Facebook to account, and I will continue to watch their work with great admiration."

During Trump’s first impeachment trial in 2019, Karlan testified that the president "must be held to account." She has written extensively about campaign finance reform and voting rights.

Oversight Board spokesman John Taylor said, "Pam Karlan’s legal and civil rights expertise played an important part in shaping the Board and we’re grateful for her contributions. The Trustees and Board members congratulate Pam on her new role and wish her the very best."