IGF 2021 – Day 4 – WS #57 Multistakeholder initiatives in content governance

The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.



>> We all live in a digital world.  We all need it to be open and safe.  We all want to trust.  And to be trusted. 

>> We all despise control. 

>> And desire freedom. 

>> We are all united. 

>> FARZANEH BADIEI: Hello, everybody, and welcome to the Internet Governance Forum on multistakeholder content governance.  My name is Farzaneh Badiei.  And today we are going to talk about what is this multistakeholder thing that we talk about when it comes to platform governance, especially.  And in the past few years, we have seen the emergence of content governance initiatives that in one way or another are suspicious of multistakeholder or they claim that they are multistakeholder.  And when we debate this multistakeholder nature of the initiatives, we usually use the term in a broad and abstract way and applying it to the whole initiative and kind of, like, we need to be a little bit nuanced on what ‑‑ what our expectations are as well from the multistakeholder initiatives. 

     So this session we decided to provide a draft framework to consider how multistakeholder initiative ‑‑ these content governing initiatives are, and we aim for this session to be more than just a one‑off meeting, IGF meeting.  We want to have a continuous dialogue about multistakeholders in content governance and how do we assist it and for which issues in multistake ‑‑ in content governance we can use this multistakeholders approach. 

     So first we present the draft framework for assessing multistakeholder content governance initiatives by Milton Mueller.  Then we consider ‑‑ we will discuss three initiatives.  One is Christchurch Call.  Ellen is going to cover that.  And another is the Global Internet Forum to Counterterrorism.  And then we will have the Facebook ‑‑ and Erin is going to address the Global Internet Forum to Counterterrorism and discuss that, and then we have the Facebook Oversight Board, which is going to be covered by Rachel.  After that, we are going to hear some commentary from Dia and Courtney about, you know, the shortcomings and the advantages of these processes and perhaps kind of open conversation about what sort of principles, if any, we want to have for these multistakeholder governance initiatives when it comes to content governance. 

     Okay.  So without further ado, Milton, go ahead, please. 

>> MILTON MUELLER: Okay.  (Muted) we're getting feedback. 

>> COURTNEY RADSCH: Try to mute your computer. 

>> MILTON MUELLER: Okay.  It is muted.  You all see the slides.  Let me just try to go into ‑‑ so, yes.  We were concerned with the question of, you know, if people are claiming that they're doing multistakeholder governance.  So what exactly does that mean, and how does it actually distribute decision‑making power?  Who participates?  Those are all kinds of issues.  We just tried to create a framework that would allow us to kind of in a step‑by‑step way go through some of these issues and really get a more accurate beat on what these initiatives are actually doing.  How are they actually incorporating different stakeholders? 

     So let's start here with the three basic classification criteria that we set up.  They are authority, membership, and funding.  And we'll go through those one by one.  So with respect to authority, and this is in some ways the most important element, how much decision‑making power actually does this entity, this multistakeholder entity, have?  So, for example, let's say in the ICANN generic name supporting organization, which organizes a multistakeholder body, they really do make decisions.  They are the policy‑making organ for certain aspects of domain names. 

     On the other hand, many multistakeholder bodies are purely consultative.  So you are essentially in an advisory role with the group, and you're not really having direct authority over decisions.  And there's a middle ground where sometimes these advisory bodies take on a somewhat influential role in decision‑making even if they don't formally have direct authority.  So we've carved out a third space there.  So this is one of our classification criteria for these multistakeholder bodies. 

     The other critical one is membership.  And it means essentially, you know, who is included, and how are they included in these processes?  So we've had to break that down into two basic elements.  One of them is representation.  And the other is selection.  So by representation, we mean has this multistakeholder body set up a formal well‑defined structure and possibly a balanced or unbalanced structure for representation?  Or is it simply, you know, kind of catch as catch can? 

     So, for example, you might create a multistakeholder body that says we're going to have ten members of Civil Society.  We're going to have five people from the private sector.  We're going to have five people from government.  That would be an example of a structured representation.  And anything that does not have such a formal structure we're throwing into the "B" category, no structure. 

     And then once you have or don't have a representational structure, then the question is how are people selected to serve on these multistakeholder bodies?  One, it could be completely open, and we use as an example of that the Internet engineering task force working groups where you can just jump in.  They may ignore you, but you can all participate. 

     Another is sort of a bottom‑up selection process, and this tends to work better with a structured representation.  So you say, okay.  We have a representative of human rights organizations.  So the human rights organizations organize themselves, and they select their representatives into the structure.  A third possibility is that the bottom‑up process nominates people, and this is typical of the U.N. and typical of the IGF in particular, the Civil Society may nominate people, put people forward through some organized or individualized process.  And then the top‑down process will say, well, okay.  We've got your nominees, and we're going to select the following six people or whatever. 

     So that's kind of, again, a gray area in which there is some bottom up and some top down.  And finally, there's just a pure top‑down selection process where ‑‑ and, again, some of these United Nations ‑‑ what do they call them ‑‑ high‑level groups are, you know, they just select people that they think are important or representative, and there's no nomination or bottom‑up selection process. 

     So that's how we classify things.  There's actually eight different options here.  And I think it's an important element of a multistakeholder body.  Finally, there is funding support.  And this is also important.  In other words, if you've created a multistakeholder structure or representational process of some kind, do you support the infrastructure for people to interact?  Do you support travel to meetings?  Do you provide staff support for various kinds of processes that the group has to go through, or do you not?  And obviously, this is not entirely binary, but, again, we're trying to come up with a basic classification scheme. 

     So I don't want to get too Cartesian on you all, but you could imagine a three‑dimensional matrix in which you would locate different initiatives, authority membership and funding.  But I think we don't want to get that sort of pretentious in terms of how we can actually quantify the answer to this question, how multistakeholder is, but in some cases you can see that, you know, some entities would have more authority, a more bottom‑up membership and more funding, and they would be on the upper right of that graph, and others would be in the lower left. 

     So that's our basic framework.  I am finished with that.  And I'll turn it back over to Farzaneh now. 

>> FARZANEH BADIEI: Thank you very much.  So based on this framework, Ellen, I want to come to you and ask you, how do you see ‑‑ you've been involved with the Christchurch Call since its inception in 2019.  And like in both capacity of Civil Society and now as a part of the government, how do you see its evolution, and how multistakeholder are you ‑‑ of course, as Milton mentioned, we are not here to kind of say, oh, you are, like, more multistakeholder than others, but we want to kind of understand the evolution, how you saw, like, it went in the past and how you actually envision multistakeholder future for Christchurch Call? 

>> MILTON MUELLER: Do we need to unmute Ellen? 

>> ELLEN STRICKLAND: Can you hear me now?  Yes.  I'm furiously trying to unmute myself.  Hello, everyone from New Zealand.  I'm Ellen Strickland.  Yeah, I've been a part of the Christchurch Call process since the beginning.  Giving a little bit of background, I'll try to tell the story in a way that helps add to this.  March 15, 2019 sort of unprecedented terrorist attacks here in New Zealand, on the Islamic community in Christchurch.  And kind of recognizing the lives lost and the grief that was there, part of what was unprecedented as well was the use of the Internet in that terrorist and violent extremist content which was distributed in kind of ways that we hadn't seen before in terms of volume and reach. 

     And it was that moment, that use of the Internet, that brought a need for some kind of response, I suppose, and that ‑‑ sorry.  I have some notes I'm just trying to get to here.  Sorry about that.  Yeah.  And so, you know, the Christchurch Call initiative was about thinking about, you know, how ‑‑ the outcomes that you want around dealing with terrorist and violent extremist content and how you would address that.  And when those events unfolded, there were actually some, you know, national regulations, Australia, for example, and some others that sought to sort of take, you know, government action, national regulation, and the Christchurch Call really came about from, you know, New Zealand's Prime Minister, Jacinda Adern, thinking, you know, what response is needed here?  And that really, in order to understand the problem and have a response, that a national ‑‑ this was, you know, an event that impacted people around the world and was so unprecedented, you know, the systems that were in place then weren't working.  What do we do about it?  And it was something that would require more than just creating some quick regulation. 

     And so, you know, between New Zealand and France, there was quickly this idea of an initiative that would be a range of countries and the social media companies, particularly those that were most dealing with the incident.  And from that inception, that idea, that they would draft a call to action, it wouldn't be a treaty, but it would be kind of an action‑oriented agreement about things that they would do together, talking about it, that, you know, I was part of Internet NZ, which was a ccTLD, working kind of as a Civil Society part on the Internet.  But the Prime Minister, when they first announced it, you know, on the television set and, you know, we needed to be talking to researchers in Civil Society as well because this is about understanding what's happening and taking action. 

     And so from that point, you know, there was a behind‑the‑scenes kind of negotiation of this call to action document, but there was also a mobilization of researchers and Civil Societies and advocates to, you know, try to understand what was going on in this call to action, this agreement that was happening.  And so I think, you know, it's important to recognize that, you know, there were elements of ‑‑ that understanding that to get outcomes on harmful content, on this terrorist and violent extremist content, you needed the different parts.  You needed the Technical Community.  You needed researchers, Civil Society, you know, involved, but yet at that beginning, it really was a kind of governments and companies, you know, self‑selected or selecting themselves led by New Zealand and France, committing to I think it was 24 action items that some were for companies, some were for countries, some were for both. 

     And that really, you know ‑‑ the role of Civil Society was, you know, sort of grown through the actions of Civil Society.  So they did a round that was kind of big events in Paris to launch the call to action, but there was a side event, Civil Society, they weren't at the table.  You know, it's important to kind of recognize the roots of this came from that place wherein Civil Society kind of asserting the importance of a multistakeholder approach and in caring about the same outcomes but that you wouldn't get the outcomes that we were saying we wanted with just companies and governments, really. 

     And so I think, you know, then that was two years ago, over two years ago.  And during ‑‑ since then, there's been the creation of a Civil Society Advisory Network formally to be kind of a part of the Christchurch Call community.  There has been a second summit two years afterward, and about actually before that to go back ‑‑ there have been just some inclusions that started to develop of Civil Society being a bit more included.  So in September that year 2019, there was a follow‑up meeting in the U.N. General Assembly, and a lot of what was done to get Civil Society more involved to have representatives there and supported to be there to give them speaking slots.  And I think that's kind of led to May this year where we had a summit, the two‑year anniversary summit, which was much more of, you know, the community coming together with an advisory network to talk. 

     But I sort of say, you know, it's that progress that I think is interesting.  And I reflect on it.  It's about those outcomes and that it is ‑‑ I think the criteria itself that you put forward, Milton, is, you know, interesting in that I think some of those things you posited are about the outcomes but it reflects on the Christchurch Call and your criteria.  I think the authority one is that you certainly don't see decision‑making power there for other groups.  That it's an action‑oriented initiative, and I think, you know, whether it's governance, I think a really important thing I'd love to tease out more is that idea of middle ground and the idea of influence because I've been involved in ICANN and other spaces, and I think there are time you can have authority and not have, like, influence or that the authority doesn't make for the best outcomes because you end up in a battle of authorities of different groups.  I think ICANN is an example of that. 

     And that, you know, what I would like to see is authority within multistakeholder processes but also in a system that allows influence of the groups of each other up to the point of authority so that the outcomes that you're deciding on are influenced by each other as well rather than a kind of, you know, sort of different authorities battling each other. 

     And I guess just to say, you know, with membership, I can see a lot in what you've done there for the Christchurch Call.  It has become more structured over time.  I think the selection process also mirrors some of what you're saying in that initially it was very much self‑selected or top‑down selected.  And that for the Christchurch Call community, there's become an awareness especially with the Advisory Network that there needs to be transparency, first of all, so that would be something that I would add there, that idea of transparency in the membership is fundamental but often lacking in these things in that top‑down way.  But that, you know, we're now in a process to have a community process that's more bottom‑up, transparent, has input from all the community about who joins in each of the areas and how they work together. 

     And funding, lastly, I think has been super important.  It's been an ongoing thing in the Christchurch Call from the very beginning, inviting Civil Society, other groups that don't have funding to come to terrorists, but are you supporting them to be there, you know, to engage?  Are you supporting the network has been something that has been a process for, you know, where now there has been funding found, for example, to help support the advisory network.  But I think it is in the right direction, that the framework that you put there resonates with me with a focus on Christchurch Call on the outcomes on how to do we work on terrorist and violent extremist content and minimizing that together that some of those things you've put here we found moving in those directions to enable the work of, you know, of multistakeholder engagement.  Thanks. 

>> FARZANEH BADIEI: Thank you very much, Ellen.  It seems like novelty may not be a very effective way of doing multistakeholder processes as well.  And I'm making very bold conclusions.  It's, like, you know, it's 5:40 a.m. here, so if I don't do that, I might fall asleep, so take it with a grain of salt. 

     During the Christchurch Call and when the New Zealand and French government were deciding what to do with this initiative and how to go about it, also take consideration to give it a multistakeholder angle, there was another organization that had ‑‑ it was launched before the Christchurch Call by the industry and it was called the Global Internet Forum to Counterterrorism.  And after the Christchurch Call was convened, and I might not be very accurate here, so, Erin, please correct me if I'm wrong, but GIFCT became an NGO, a not‑for profit organization, and also the multistakeholder angle of the processes of GIFCT were strengthened or GIFCT aims to focus on that part as well.  So, Erin, now I come to you and ask you, where do you see this multistakeholder ‑‑ I mean, when we talk about multistakeholder initiatives, you might have multistakeholder processes in one part of the organization, so tell us a little bit about GIFCT and how you go about multistakeholderism there. 

>> ERIN SALTMAN: Sure.  Well, thanks again for having us, and everyone's across different time zones and in different zones and some of you in person, but it's always just good to convene in this sort of forum because a lot of times maybe these are some of the dialogues that we don't get as proactively from some of the other forums we participate in. 

     It was great seeing the matrix.  It's like we're gamifying multistakeholders.  Maybe that's not a bad way to go about it.  If you gamify something, we always know where to plot ourselves on that course forward.  If anyone dialed in that hasn't heard of GIFCT, we are a little bit of a unique origin story in that it really was a very particular moment when we were founded originally as an initiative run by tech companies for tech companies.  So launched in 2017.  Founded by Facebook, Microsoft, YouTube and Twitter, bringing together a group of tech companies, and it was run multilaterally by tech companies.  At that point in time, you could say that multistakeholderism was convened mostly in a consultative realm and also to help decide what some useful output and tools online for Civil Society would be. 

     If you look at 2017, which feels like in online terms a million years ago, this is a moment in time where you saw lots of, very honestly, lots of ISIS content or DAASH content around the world and foreign fighters and you saw on mainstream social media platforms just tons of open, overt membership and sympathy and selfies.  And this is what convened the tech companies to say, okay.  We can't just do if one off, each app.  We're seeing this migration between platforms.  And so when GIFCT was formed, it was really with three primary questions in mind.  It was questioning where can you share technology across platforms in a way that does not violate privacy and human rights concerns, and that is a very big question still to this day.  Where can you get better action‑oriented research from global experts that actually are solution oriented.  Because a lot of times as a former academic, nobody reads it.  They read the executive summary.  And maybe the conclusion is just more research is needed.  So we needed much quippier, fast answers from experts on what adversarial shifts look like.  And then the third was really how can we share knowledge between sectors better?  So it was trying not to be tokenistic about when we go to Civil Society, it was actually saying, Civil Society has their finger on the pulse of adversarial shifts in a different way to law enforcement and in a different way to tech companies.  We are all seeing violent extremism and terrorism in a slightly different but really important way. 

     Now, the big shift, as you mentioned, was after the horrific terrorist attacks, which were white supremacy terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, as tech companies, there was that recognition of in the face of a real‑world crisis that has online threat components attached directly to the ongoing real‑world threat, how can you react as the tech community to that crisis?  And obviously, the Christchurch attacker video went viral at a speed ‑‑ having looked at terrorist content for way too many years‑‑ it went viral than any one piece of terrorist content I've ever seen in the fastest amount of time I've ever seen.  So the idea of how do you do crisis response was really important. 

     And that also, as you mentioned, had the tech companies realize that this couldn't be multilaterally run as just an initiative.  It really needed its own robust funding, and it was transformed into a 501C3 NGO.  We had to question how do we bring multistakeholderism into on you ITC operates.  And I want to be very clear that for us multistakeholderism has to have impact‑based goals by design.  So I always want to say ours worked does not equate output and output does not always equate impact.  You have to actually decide what you want from that convening and build that into how you bring people in so that it's not tokenized. 

     One of the ways we iteratively brought that in was in our governance structure.  We have an operating board that's made up of the founding four tech companies that fund us, but we also have an independent advisory committee that is made up of both government and intergovernmental entities, but that that number was proactively outnumbered by nongovernmental NGOs, academics and CSOs.  That's still an area that I think needs to evolve as it goes to make sure that that advisory committee has better structure, has better funding, has better infrastructure to make sure it actually advises us in a way that's implementable and actionable.  It also has a chair that has to be nongovernmental in nature.  And, again, as soon as you say multistakeholderism, you cannot make the goal to agree.  You cannot make the goal that everyone should all of a sudden agree on one thing because government, law enforcement, tech companies, human rights activists, security companies are never going to necessarily agree on the path forward.  But for us, having that advisory committee, it's meant to raise all of the various 360‑degree concerns and have a global perspective so that when we do make a move forward, at least we have the alarm bells in the right places for why a step in this direction might be good here but bad here and understand those consequences. 

     It does mean that sometimes things take a little longer to take that step forward, but it means that maybe it has a more solid foundation, and the risk mitigation is by design.  When we say safety by design, I think some of this is also just how you design your programs and how you design your outputs. 

     The other area that we really wanted to get a lot of feedback from a wide, diverse range of perspectives is in our working group.  So every year we refresh five or six topics and convene people from around the world that meet once a month.  And the point is to produce an output at the end of that year process with that group.  Again, that's evolved.  It's only the second year that that's existing.  We have five topics.  It's everything from crisis response to transparency to technical approaches or legal frameworks where we start seeing legislations in different countries start to contradict themselves, even.  Those working groups have about 170‑plus participants from 35 different countries.  And, again, you're not going to get everyone agrees on pathways forward. 

     And I think you start realizing, too, that when we say CSOs or Civil Society, that's not a homogeneous voice whatsoever.  And so an activist in France might have a very different opinion to an activist in Singapore or in Turkey, and their concerns are all valid.  So I think, again, the fact that those groups are producing output together and having to highlight the different perspectives has really helped us in concrete ways.  Concrete examples include ‑‑ I would encourage people to go as bedtime reading and look at GIFCT transparency reports.  Really fun bedtime reading.  I know.  I love giving people homework.  But if you look at the 2020 versus the 2021 transparency report, our last transparency report is probably two three times longer than the one the year before.  And a lot of that came from feedback from our transparency working group that really called us out to areas that we needed to be more specific, more accurate, give more qualitative explanation about some of the data.  And that's not done.  That's not a box‑ticking exercise where you say, great.  Now go away.  You say, okay.  What's our homework for next year to make that even more robust?  It's very rare for an NGO to have a transparency report.  But because we have tooling that we manage that helps facilitate other tech companies to surface and review certain types of terrorist content under specific criteria, we feel we need to be more transparent as well. 

     We also developed, because of that, those working groups crisis response directory.  So one of the feedbacks from Christchurch and other governments and law enforcement was in the case of a crisis, they don't know who to reach out at tech companies.  They don't know the crisis hotline for a 24‑hour email service from a tech company to make sure that that on‑the‑ground real‑world crisis is being dealt with if it has onLinasspects.  So the crisis response working group helped us develop a protected directory so that in the case of real‑world harm, if relevant authorities reach out, they can at least be put in touch with the right point of contact at a given tech company. 

     Any of these outputs for working groups, if a CSO individual leads on the output and helps develop the paper, we have funding behind that.  So we also need to say, okay.  It's one thing to dial in once a month to a meeting.  But if you're taking more of your time, we shouldn't tokenize that team, and we should put some funding behind it. 

     Lastly, I guess a good example of some helpful feedback from the global community has been through our global network on extremism and technology.  Our academic wing.  And just in the last year or so, they've produced over 190 insights which are shorter blog form finger on the pulse adversarial shift write‑ups.  Those are funded as well, which is rare for researchers even for short blog forms to get quippy funding just microgrants.  And those insights have come from 245 authors from 25 different countries.  Far‑right extremism in Singapore looks really different to how it looks in America as examples, but also that network is allowed to question really broad violent extremist trends like 5G cell phone conspiracy theory and Quanone or Buddhist extremism in Myanmar and we need to recognize that it looks very different in different parts of the world.  Multistakeholderism to sum up has to be impact focused for us.  We want to build in micro to macro grant funding to support CSO participation. 

     I would say CSOs also have time constraints that maybe government and tech don't to participate.  So we've tried to be horizontal in including things like Slack channels and joint documents so that if someone can't make a meeting because of their real‑world issues, that that's not punished.  And then we also ‑‑ we're totally masochistic and carried out our own human rights impact assessment in the last year, and I'll share links to that which kind of is helping us guide a very long laundry list of ways that as we go and evolve, we could get better.  So it doesn't always make things easy to be multistakeholder by design and it doesn't always make things faster.  But I do think it gives you solid grounding to build from so that in the long term, you're not facing those issues five years later when you think, oh, my gosh.  I built this on shaky foundations.  And so it's iterative.  It's evolving.  It's not always easy, but I think it's worthwhile in the long run. 

>> FARZANEH BADIEI: Great.  Thank you so much, Erin.  So the next initiative that you might be surprised to see the name of Facebook Oversight Board in multistakeholder session, and this is what exactly we want to find out, to see if we can, in some way, frame oversight board as a multistakeholder initiative.  And ‑‑ or not.  Not everybody has to be multistakeholder.  And also, the other point that Facebook Oversight Board is different from the two initiatives that it has a broader mandate.  The Christchurch Call and GIFCT, they work on terrorist extremist content while the Facebook Oversight Board works on broader content policy issues and at Facebook and Instagram.  Meta is their big corporation, right?  I don't have to ‑‑ anyway, I'll go to you, Rachel.  Please tell us about the oversight board and how you frame it and how you can use the framework that Milton presented to talk about the oversight.  Thanks. 

>> Rachel Wolbers: Can you hear me?  Okay.  Yeah.  Thank you guys so much for having me.  I'm already learning a lot of what Milton talked about, so I'll give sort of a quick 2‑minute overview of what the board has done in our first year, and then I'll apply this multistakeholder framework to some of the work that we're doing. 

     So the board was started in ‑‑ the idea of the board was started in 2018 when Facebook realized that maybe they shouldn't be making all of the most difficult content moderation decisions on their platform on Facebook and Instagram by themselves.  And so in 2018, they started a global consultation where they went around the world talking to experts and trying to figure out what would be the best way to structure this group because I will admit, and I think every one of our board members still sees this as very much an experiment and a new type of institution. 

     And so back in May of 2020, we announced our first board members and also discussed ‑‑ or made public the information about the trust that was used to set up the oversight board.  So Meta, back in 2020, put $130 million into this independent trust, appointed trustees who manage that money, and I work for ‑‑ and with that money we created the Oversight Board, the board members are paid through that trust.  I work for the Oversight Board, which is part of that trust.  Meta, anyone over there, could not fire me.  I don't closely work with them on pretty much anything.  But we ‑‑ so would maintain that we're quite independent.  It's a unique structure. 

     So what have we done?  In one year, we started taking cases in opening up for appeals.  Users can, if you feel like your content was removed from Facebook or Instagram wrongly or if you think content has been left up on Facebook or Instagram in violation of the community standards and community guidelines, you can appeal to the board.  The board then selects a very small number of those cases to dive in deeper to look at that content moderation decision, and then we have two parts to that case.  We have a binding part, which goes a little bit towards the authority part of the multistakeholder breakdown.  We have a binding part that says the board decides, yes, the content stays up.  No, the content comes down or vice versa.  It comes down or stays up.  And Facebook and Instagram must do, we say on that binding piece, but the real, I think, lesson and meat of these decisions that we have been putting out are the recommendations. 

     So we make policy recommendations to Meta in every single case, whether things like you should translate your community standards into Punjabi, a language that over 100 million people of your users speak.  You should ensure that satire, there is an exception for satire and clearly explained in your cases ‑‑ or, sorry, in your community standards.  And so, yes.  So we make these recommendations.  Since the board started, we have issued 19 decisions.  We just had two come out yesterday.  As part of those 19 decisions, we have made 75 recommendations.  Meta has agreed that ‑‑ has agreed and already implemented half of those recommendations.  There were four that they said we're not going to do.  And then the rest they're still assessing.  Trying to figure out with their product teams and content moderator teams and the policy teams how they can make those other recommendations come to be. 

     So let me talk about how we are multistakeholder.  I think there are kind of two parts here.  First, the board itself is pretty multistakeholder.  They were selected ‑‑ the first four co‑chairs were selected exclusively by Meta.  They they worked to elect the 16 co‑chairs and they are people from all over the world.  There is a representational aspect.  We have board members from each region and have set aside slots for members from each region.  We've also really looked for a diverse group of people, whether they're former federal judges to activists, Civil Society, academia, journalism, former Prime Minister, and so really diverse group of people who then are the ones on the board. 

     But I think the board has also really tried to set up processes to ensure a more multistakeholder component of the case decisions, too.  And I was really interested in learning more with Erin about some of the microgrants and funding structure that you set up.  Because right now we do ‑‑ we have a couple pretty open processes for Civil Society.  First we set up a public comment portal, so every time we announce a new case, we put a description of that case on our website.  And anyone from all over the world, and we really actually ‑‑ you can be an expert, but just somebody with local contact, somebody who could say, hey, I'm talking to people on the ground.  This is what they're saying.  You don't need to have a law degree or any special education to, like, really write meaningful comments.  And I would say that we do receive a lot of meaningful comments in our case relating to former President Trump.  We had 9,966 public comments.  But on an average case, we get about between 25 and 50.  And within those 25, I would say there's always a good group of eight to ten comments that really impact the board's thinking on decisions, and frequently we will put recommendations from Civil Society in particular directly into our policy recommendations.  So things that Civil Society has been demanding of Meta or Facebook do for a long time frequently end up in our decisions.  So that's our public comment process. 

     Alongside that, my coworker Holly and I run what we call office hours.  So every time we open a case, we then make ourselves available for usually two hours that week.  One that is early in the morning my time, like right now, or one that's late so that we can cover a lot of the world.  And then we also do roundtables (audio fading in and out) we in our bylaws (audio fading in and out) in our annual report.  We plan to talk about all of the roundtables we've done, all of the multistakeholder engagement we've done, and try to be really transparent to give people a better sense of what the board is up to. 

     So I think sort of through that, I've covered our authority, which is the binding nature as well as the policy recommendations, which Meta must respond to our policy recommendations.  Our membership, it's top down, but hopefully we've also got a bottom up with the public comments and office hours.  And then the funding issue we talked a little bit about already.  I'm happy to answer more questions on that.  We also ‑‑ part of that funding is thinking when we were listening to Milton, we have (audio fading in and out) researchers that we've commissioned to try to more professionalize academic research (audio fading in and out) in those public comments, sort of my interview.  I'm really excited to answer questions and see all of you guys. 

>> FARZANEH BADIEI: Great.  Thank you so much, Rachel.  So I'm going to go to Dia and ask Dia, so you have been involved with these initiatives one way or another.  And there are a lot of talks about the legitimacy of the processes and when they use the multistakeholder process, how do they actually, like, facilitate ‑‑ how do they facilitate the participation of Civil Society especially, but also, like, how was your experience?  What is your perception of these processes that we actually put forward now? 

>> DIA KAYYALI: Great.  Okay.  I'm going to try to be brief, but I do want to respond to some of the points made by my fellow panelists up to this point.  Really great overviews.  And I should say I've been heavily involved in each of the three initiatives outlined here.  Each of them had really different starting points, so I think that they're really helpful to look at to sort of compare and contrast.  But I do want to start with just one really essential point for Civil Society.  And very much in keeping with sort of how I try to participate in these things, I'm just going to be, you know, quite frank, that there's always a danger of Civil Society being used as window dressing.  I can't tell you how many times I've heard the phrase we consulted Civil Society, and I thought, well, what does that mean?  And so really I think that when we talk about multistakeholder initiatives, there has to be some sort of system of accountability in place.  And the fact is that unfortunately I think a lot of times Civil Society doesn't want to lose their seat at the table.  And I can understand why.  I've been in that position myself.  But sometimes this leads to, I think, Civil Society organizations not being willing to say publicly what their experience has been in an initiative and feeling like, you know, these companies or these governments aren't going to continue to talk to me if I complain too much, really. 

     And I'm here to say that that is not really the case, that most of the time you can say what you think.  You're not going to get kicked out.  I've been very blunt about my opinions about these different initiatives over the years.  And I'm going to share a bunch of links to things that I've written over the years about some of these various initiatives.  So I do think that on Civil Society side, we need to be willing to speak up publicly.  I think there's also value in some Civil Society organizations saying no, we're not going to participate in this, and others, you know, being willing to do ‑‑ if they're sort of working in collaboration, I think we saw that with the Independent Advisory Committee for GIFCT. 

     Okay.  I just want to respond to some of these specific points and then talk a little bit about my experience.  So just with the Christchurch Call, just to give a sense of the time line, I do want to say that initially the way that Civil Society got involved actually was that a lot of us didn't know that this was happening and saw a leaked copy of the call.  We were then really scrambled, and incredible work of all of the Civil Society people on this call engaged in this process of bringing together people from around the world to comment on something and then actually creating a meaningful output from that.  But I think since then, a lot of the things that we brought up in that document have been addressed, and we've tried to work on addressing some of those points. 

     That being said, you know, so it was over the summer that Civil Society engagement was actually much more formalized.  However, that being said, I do need to point out that we participated in the September 2019 U.N. event.  It was really an incredible opportunity.  However, as a member of Civil Society, bluntly, we were reminded constantly that it was a privilege for us to be there.  That we should feel lucky to be at the U.N., that it's not normal to have Civil Society speaking to members of the U.N.  I don't think that's a good ‑‑ you know, that's not a great starting point. 

     So really the initiative started with companies and governments.  So I think it was Civil Society that really made Civil Society engagement happen.  That being said, I think there's been ‑‑ there's been real interest particularly in the part of the New Zealand government to try to make it sustainable.  And the fact that we got funding for a Secretariat, I think, is certainly really helpful.  So with GIFCT, Erin, you know, you said in your comments that at the beginning, at that time civil society was mostly in a consultative role.  I would say that Civil Society is absolutely still only in a consultative role and frankly oftentimes not even that. 

     So, you know, one of the key recommendations in the GIFCT human rights impact assessment was ‑‑ they did recognize a lack of accountability for GIFCT and the current structure.  So we have seen now that GIFCT is going to institute a system of formal recommendations from the independent advisory committee to the operating board and formal responses from the operating board to the independent advisory committee.  So this is actually modelled on the Facebook Oversight Board, which I think is addressing as we're talking about all of the three here. 

     So this recommendation, I think, was strongly influenced by the Christchurch Call Advisory Network in putting into the human rights impact assessment.  GIFCT has said that in two years' time it will review the merits of transitioning to a multistakeholder board.  I would argue that two years is too long, that the GIFCT is being shaped now and that to move from sort of window dressing to an actual consultative role, I think doing that earlier would make a big difference. 

     So another point that Erin made is you can't make the goal to agree.  I absolutely agree with that, and I think that that needs to be a fundamental starting point for multistakeholder initiatives.  Where I think that we can tease out that principle a little bit is how do you more clearly communicate where there is disagreement.  I don't think there's a problem with disagreement, and I have to say in one of the working groups that I'm participating in now, we're talking about doing some research where the output is actually going to be to highlight all the areas of disagreement.  I think that that is something useful and meaningful. 

     I know it sounds like maybe a frustrating process, but I think that that's a good starting point.  And I think GIFCT has also done a little bit of this with the human rights impact assessment.  I really think that that human rights impact assessment was really helpful.  So on the Oversight Board, something that really stuck out that Rachel said is that Meta can't fire me.  So I say that because, you know, having a seat at the table or having a role where you are protected, where you know that you can say something, you can say something meaningful.  I mean, Meta also can't fire any of the members of the board.  They can't say, oh, board, you were too mean to us.  We didn't like that you called us out when, you know, we lied to you about cross‑check.  So, you know, I actually think ‑‑ I would really‑‑ and I've done this publicly ‑‑ I would really urge members of the board to be comfortable to go even further than they have, you know. 

     And actually, I think this is a difficult ‑‑ a difficult point to make, but I do think it's important.  I think members of any advisory body, members of any board need to be willing to walk away at any point where they feel like there is not legitimacy anymore.  And I think this is a frightening prospect.  Again, you don't want to lose your seat at the table.  And I don't say that the oversight board is there yet.  I think there's still a lot more to be learned from this experiment.  And to be really blunt, every one of my comments on every case has actually been integrated.  And that is actually quite different from my experience with GIFCT and with Christchurch Call.  Not every one of my recommendations has been implemented there.  And, in fact, sometimes, you know, I think there's this fundamental question of what ‑‑ and I'm going to wrap up shortly ‑‑ but I think there's this fundamental question of what does Civil Society actually get consulted about?  What should we be consulted about?  What does that look like?  And unfortunately I think this has been a major block in a lot of these discussions with the oversight board.  It's very clear, the process is very clear.  Even though it is more expansive in many ways than GIFCT and Christchurch Call, it's actually also much more limited.  You're making decisions about specific pieces of content from one company.  So it's been easier to see the impact of that.  With GIFCT and Christchurch Call, it's a little bit more difficult. 

     What I want to see ‑‑ and I think this is why the human rights impact assessment was interesting, because it was a real chance for Civil Society to input into something that was going to have a clear output that highlighted the areas of concern.  But, again, that's not something that is binding. 

     So I think ‑‑ I think even on the consultation level, I think there's still a lot of questions about that.  How does that happen in a meaningful way?  Importantly, what does meaningful mean?  It should certainly include, at a minimum, really making clear what the Civil Society concerns are.  But preferably actually responding to that.  I have to say another block in multistakeholder discussions is concerns about sovereignty from governments that are participating.  I don't have an easy answer to this, but I just want to throw it into the mix for the discussion. 

     And also we do oftentimes run into difficulties with unclear or nonexistent answers about elements of business practices by corporations, and actually this is something that the Facebook Oversight Board also ran into.  Hopefully that is notten itting, but, you know, I think we all have our doubts.  So the last thing I just want to touch on is evening the playing field.  A few things that we have thought about in these initiatives and that I think there's still work to be done on.  So one, of course, is information disparities.  Something that we've done in the Christchurch Call is try to get more regular report backs.  I think the Oversight Board initially, when you were putting the cases out there, there was difficulties with people feeling like they couldn't actually comment because they couldn't understand what the case was about, and we've seen a lot of improvements there. 

     But certainly information disparities, bringing Civil Society in early and into more conversations.  Having actual authority over decisions or at a minimum real accountability processes for decisions.  So, again, I'd just mention that aspect of the independent advisory committee and sort of required responses.  So really building that into the process so that you have regular information sharing, you have regular responses.  I think all of these can help.  And then finally, of course, funding.  I also want to throw into the conversation for later, and this is the last thing I'm going to say, what are the potential dangers in having funding for these bodies, particularly if the funding is coming from companies?  I think that in Civil Society, a lot of us have heard, oh.  Well, you took Facebook money?  We don't trust you, you know?  And Facebook, I refuse to say Meta. 

     So, you know, I think there's also difficulties there.  How do you actually make the funding independent?  Again, the Oversight Board is a very specific example, but it's a good example.  It's an independent trust.  I would love to have an independent trust associated with GIFCT.  Maybe we can convince you to do that.  So thank you so much.  I know that was a lot.  I'm going to throw a bunch of links into the chat and really looking forward to the rest of the discussion. 

>> FARZANEH BADIEI: All right.  Thank you so much.  And I immediately will go to Courtney.  Courtney, considering that every time one of these initiatives comes out and they say, oh, we want to be a multistakeholder, how can we be multistakeholder?  So tell us a little bit about what your perception is and what sort of principles you think we can, like, apply broadly to these organizations? 

>> COURTNEY RADSCH: Great.  Thank you so much for this opportunity.  So just to do a little scene setting so you know who I am if you're not familiar with these issues and apologies in advance if the loudspeaker comes on here.  But my name is Courtney Radsch.  I come at this with both as a participant and all of the three processes that are laid out here as a Civil Society participant but also as an academic.  And I practice participant observation which means that I take an den ethnographic lens in a Civil Society way so we can do in‑depth analysis and really understand the struggles in this case over how do we define something as multistakeholderism?  And that's what I think is so interesting here because what we're trying to do with this framework is to create an analytical framework that can let us look at certain entities and processes to determine whether or not they are multistakeholder. 

     But what we (audio fading in and out) didn't really do here is to address the normative contestation over what is multistakeholder.  For me, is whether a bilateral relationship, for example, between ‑‑ when it is a private sector and a government initiative, can that be considered multistakeholder?  There are scholars like Laura Denartis who I think would argue yes.  I am of the mind that multi requires more than two.  That when we say bilateral, there are ‑‑ multi requires more than two stakeholders.  So by definition, I would say that public/private partnerships are not multistakeholder. 

     I also think that there is a normative value and that the role that Civil Society plays in making something multistakeholder, particularly and specifically in the Internet governance realm.  And so when we look at this, then we can say, okay.  This analytical framework is helpful because we can see where, as Milton laid out at the beginning, do those points of influence, consultation, et cetera arise?  And those can be both ‑‑ and I think we need to add another dimension, which is we can talk about the entity itself, or we can talk about specific processes. 

     And I think that could be interesting as well because you mentioned the Facebook oversight board.  The Facebook Oversight Board itself I would argue is not multistakeholder.  However, the process by which it, you know, works on content moderation issues with respect to Facebook seems to be somewhat multistakeholder.  So I think that's another interesting dimension that we could tease out. 

     Similarly, there is a related process to the GIFCT and the Christchurch Call, both of which have to do with the issue of countering violent extremism online.  And that is the OECD, the Organization For Economic Security ‑‑ sorry, Organization For Economic Cooperation Development.  The TDEC process, terrorism, violent, extremism content process, which is using the OECD which is a multilateral organization but has formal multistakeholder entities to represent private sector and Civil Society in OECD decision‑making and standard setting processes.  So it's interesting to see in the TVEC process that despite this being a multilateral organization, they adopted multistakeholder processes in order to legitimize the standards that they're coming up with. 

     And so all of the stakeholders had to come to consensus about these standards which have just been adopted and believe are going to be rolled out soon.  So I think that's something, another dimension for us to think about.  Earlier both, you know, the speakers talked about impact‑oriented and the importance of impact which, of course, that is ideal.  But I think that there is not necessarily anything inherent about the analytical framework that has to do with impact.  So, in fact, I think that what we see with multistakeholderism as an ism, as an ideology, is that a lot of it is about practice.  A lot of it is about being able to call something multistakeholder in order to gain access to the normative symbolic power that that brings in the field of Internet governance.  It's very difficult, I think, for example, the Christchurch Call, as you heard from Dia, faced a lot of criticism from Civil Society early on because of the lack of incorporation of Civil Society into that process, into the drafting of the 12 principles, into, you know, the first conference, et cetera.  And so, you know, we've seen how ‑‑ what started as a bilateral call, a bilateral kind of set of agreements between private companies and governments, has become more multistakeholder because of the normative power that the field of Internet governance holds to compel things to become multistakeholder.  So I think that's very interesting for us to think about as well. 

     One of the things I'd like to point out with the GIFCT is I personally don't think it qualifies as a multistakeholder initiative because of its governance model and the lack of any sort of formal consultative role.  I am involved in the GIFCT, so that's not to say that it doesn't ‑‑ there are not ways for other stakeholders to be involved.  But what I think is interesting is that in the beginning, when the GIFCT was being spun up, they did consultations with Civil Society where I think they heard very strongly from many of those that they consulted with that we did not want the GIFCT to be created because we were concerned about the precedence it would create for coordinating censorship and the removal of content across the Internet.  And while there may be very valid reasons to want to do that for terrorism, and I'll just remind you that, you know, the first viral terrorist video was of a journalist named Jim Foley that went online in 2014.  I've worked a lot with his family.  So this is ‑‑ these are very real concerns. 

     But I think a lot of the concerns we had was once you create the capacity to do something like that, it could be ‑‑ it could be co‑opted by governments or private sector and expanded.  And I posted some links in the chat that kind of go through some of those concerns.  And we've seen that with the expansion to white nationalism and extremism which, again, has its pros and cons.  But what's interesting, to go back to the framework, is that Civil Society attempted to deny validation of the GIFCT and deny its ability to claim multistakeholderism by not joining the International Advisory Committee.  So you'll see that the members of the IAC do not include any of the organizations that have been working on the issue of countering violent extremism going back to the ISIS and Syria and that whole initiative, you know, back in 2014 when the CVE online agenda became very prominent under the Obama Administration and the U.N. initiatives. 

     However, that failed because one of the interesting things about these multistakeholder initiatives is businesses and governments have other fora where they can coordinate, and they are more clearly identified as entities.  It's much more clear to determine what is a government or not.  That's a pretty given.  Easier, maybe a little bit harder in some cases, private sector.  Civil Society, much more amorphous, as was alluded to, you can't just go to one place to consult with Civil Society.  We don't have other venues where we can necessarily come to agreements among ourselves that are exclusive of other actors.  And so I think that's an interesting dynamic as well to think about because you had other very excellent Civil Society members particularly from academia, which is more of an ‑‑ it's still part of Civil Society but very individualistic in a way that a lot of Civil Society organizations are not.  So that failed. 

     So then what happened is a lot of those of us who were interested in trying to kind of deny access to the norm of multistakeholderism saw the GIFCT is going to happen.  It's existing.  It's getting set up.  So we'd better figure out how to get involved.

So luckily they're the working groups and now we're all involved in that.  And I think it's just an interesting way to see how, you know, the power of different stakeholders trying to be exerted in different venues to gain access to that multistakeholder normative symbolic power that holds and that contestation that happens and what that means, then, of course for the type of work that gets done. 

     We also mentioned the issue of funding and monetary support and kind of alluded to the challenges and complexity of that.  Because on the one hand, the funding of Civil Society participation or participation, say, of smaller companies, by other entities, or smaller governments that also lack capacity in some cases, you know, to engage in all these multitude of processes can lead to concerns about co‑optation. 

     On the other hand, these entities that we're talking about here today represent the wealthiest entities in the world.  Trillion‑dollar companies that have now bonded together to create a new organization that, you know, if you look at the budgets of its founding members, is probably more than the budget of the U.S. and China combined, if I was going to guess.  Don't quote me on that. 

     But I think ‑‑ so I think that presents interesting dilemmas because it's great to hear that the GIFCT has recognized that it needs to fund research.  And the diversity of the research that's getting funded in this specific case, nonetheless the concern, I think, of how ‑‑ what research gets funded and who, we've seen that emerge from the tech sector quite significantly in the AI space.  I don't want to say ‑‑ from what Erin has said, we've seen a lot of different types of research being done.  But let's also think about the types of multistakeholder entities that these different stakeholders spin up and then, you know, give these organizational lives to have implications for the type of research that gets done.  What are we going to look at as problems or solutions, and how do we look at that? 

     And another is the tension within the Internet governance field and multistakeholder as a normative value and as one of the ways that you can gain legitimacy in the space and the very limited resources that Civil Society and other stakeholders have to engage in the proliferation of multistakeholder initiatives.  So what I'm interested to see is ‑‑ because I kind of feel like we're reaching a little bit of an inflection point, at least in the space of Internet governance and content moderation, is what happens when ‑‑ when you just don't have the capacity to engage in any other multistakeholder initiatives?  What does that mean?  And what does that do, then, to the model and the analysis that we're presenting here? 

     So in a nutshell, I would say that is ‑‑ you know, those are some thoughts on how we apply the analytical framework to Internet governance and specifically these initiatives.  And I think that this is a very promising way for us to think about some of the principles therefore that we need to have at the root of multistakeholderism, and I think the next step that we're going to take is, you know, some sort of road show to these very initiatives and others to put together a set of principles that will codify some of these.  So thank you so much. 

>> FARZANEH BADIEI: Thank you so much.  So let's go to the audience and see if they have actually any kind of comments.  If not, I'm just going to pose some questions.  So as I said in the beginning, we are aiming for this session to be the start of the dialogue on what is multistakeholder and where we can find it and so that we can also, like, provide some solutions or principles for those entities that want to start a multistakeholder process to refer to.  Because as we saw in the beginning, a lot of these initiatives, they were surprised that Civil Society was so riled up about, like, nothing being included.  And they didn't even think that there is, like, a bunch of groups that have been working on these issues that have an interest at stake. 

     And what are the issues ‑‑ so the principles, I think they should address, first of all, where do we ‑‑ where do we use this multistakeholder process?  Would it be, like, when matters can actually affect the global Internet and also, like, what are the other broad principles and solutions that governments or corporations or Civil Society, when they want to, like, start an initiative and call it multistakeholder, they need to consider. 

     And also, like, there is another question about the authority of Civil Society which I think we need to pay attention to and kind of, like, shape our role in the multistakeholder model and request from those who actually start these processes to have a specific role.  So I'm just going to open the floor and ask any one of you if you want to, like, weigh in on, should we have principles for multistakeholder models?  How can we encourage those who want to, like, start such processes to actually use them and implement them?  And go ahead, Milton. 

>> MILTON MUELLER: Yes.  There are thousands of teaming Civil Society members here clamoring for a voice, and I fought my way to the front.  But I did want to say that when we talk about principles of multistakeholderism, I wanted to provide with this paper, we wanted to provide a framework for assessing it.  And I think it would be a bit of a mistake to make it too normative in the sense that there is one particular model of multistakeholder governance that is the right one.  It really will depend on the sector, the type of policy decisions that's being made, and the structure of the organizations that are involved.  So just the distinction between Facebook, you know, they've got enormous pressure on them to legitimize their content moderation decisions, and they're using this sort of broadening of the authority to a quasi‑Civil Society organization to reduce that pressure in a way that I think is interesting and justifiable.  But it would be hard to think of that being a model for any other ‑‑ or all other situations, right?  So that's just one bit of warning. 

>> FARZANEH BADIEI: Erin, go ahead. 

>> ERIN SALTMAN: Okay.  If you nod virtually, I don't know who you're nodding to. 

>> FARZANEH BADIEI: I unmuted. 

>> ERIN SALTMAN: It's so hard virtually these days.  There's a lot to pick up on there.  We could probably write a few Ph.D.s or books on everything brought up in this discussion.  I think for us recognizing where this kind of unique NGO now, we have to just go back to what our core purpose is.  Our core mission statement is to prevent terrorist and violent extremist exploitation of digital platforms.  They have different stakeholders at their core and then are bringing in other stakeholders in these different capacities to get to a better place.  But one thing we have to constantly do is say, okay, if this doesn't going to get to a better place, that's scope screen.  If this goes into other harms areas that really aren't that's going to be scope creep.  And it's really hard to kind of say, all right, what's our added value and what with committee do? 

     So Courtney's point while at the same time people said we don't want this to be an initiative, there were also huge pushes from different bodies to say we don't want this to be run by Facebook, Microsoft, YouTube and Twitter.  We want an independent body, in fact other tech companies wanting to join into the space didn't want it run by just a couple big companies.  Part of the reason the independence came about was also to allow us to have a bigger‑tent approach.  Also in your 501C3, your finances start becoming very transparent.  They are now queryable.  That will come out shortly.  We are now finishing up our first year as an NGO so it almost forces areas of transpain arecy that might make some of our founding fathers uncomfortable in the long run because it will show what money's going where a little bit more.  So the push and pull, again, it's not so say, well, multistakeholderism failed because your perspective wasn't 100%.  I think actually what multistakeholderism teaches us is that nobody will get 100% of what they want, but at least you're all moving forward with some concerns either at the forefront implemented or in some of your long‑term development strategy plans.  So doing a human rights impact assessment, we then had to release a letter saying, okay.  What if this is a short‑term thing that we can get to?  Again, little things that are big things to some people like our transparency report doubled in size because of the working group, because of the human rights impact assessment.  That's not going to get all of the data points out there.  But it's going to get us on the roadmap to get even better next year, even better next year.  And I also think multistakeholderism, it always feels a bit ‑‑ it feels a bit like self‑harm sometimes because there is no way that any day anyone on this call is going to wake up and say you know what, GIFCT?  You nailed it.  You're done, the way you've done counterterrorism, we're all happy it.  It's constantly holding yourself up to harder homework.  It's, like, and that is, again, it's a good thing in the long run.  It makes it a little hard to force that as part of your process because authoritarian dictatorships are easier when you're, like, actually we're just going to do it based on this one group and what they like to do.  That can get you short‑term fast wins, and this eventually will be the downfall of you.  So I think, you know, it's ‑‑ these are the harder forums to come to for myself and maybe some others on the call because you're kind of being, like, okay.  Why are we still not 100% there?  You know, as an NGO we've been only running a year and a half and we're trying to put all of the building blocks in place to make it more sustainable and make sure that these fears are at the forefront of our work.  It's also knowing that this is the right thing to do, and it's better to hear the people that disagree with you the most sometimes than putting yourself in your own echo chamber where it feels really comfortable. 

>> FARZANEH BADIEI: Yeah.  So this is important to, well, sometimes initiatives and processes, they think that if they just, like, open the door to comments and criticism, that is a multistakeholder process.  And, you know, this kind of, like, listening to comment but then also, like, when the implementation doesn't really happen or when you don't take in feedback systematically, then ‑‑ and I'm not talking about GIFCT here.  I'm saying that, like, in broader claims that sometimes multilateral organizations have that, oh, yes.  We are multistakeholder.  It's just that you don't have a vote.  So this kind of, like ‑‑ we need to be also with this framework to identify those kind of claims and not to consider everything multistakeholder if there are ways to actually weigh in for other stakeholders in the process. 

     Okay.  Courtney, you have your hand up.  I also see a pushback against principles in chat, like coming up with principles.  I actually ‑‑ I'm neutral about that.  I just want to kind of, like, set the scene for our next steps.  What should we do about this?  Should we just, like, have a session and congratulate each other, or should we work on this draft framework and work on, like, other issues?  Go ahead, Courtney. 

>> COURTNEY RADSCH: Great.  Thanks so much.  Yeah.  And, you know, for me, coming here, this is an academic exercise, to come up ‑‑ I mean it's an academic exercise but also a meaningful exercise with the idea that we can come up with factors to also allow us to help entities that want to do multistakeholderism better or, you know, have new initiatives to understand what does that look like, and how does that look like in different ways?  Because precisely to the fact that there is not one model, as Milton pointed out and that, you know, the kind of qualitative assessments here and the considerations about power dynamics is not to say that that delegitimizes a multistakeholder initiative.  I think it underscores the challenge of doing multistakeholder initiatives and Internet governance. 

     I mean, it is not necessary that the companies ever consult with Civil Society.  It is not required that governments that are not democratic consult with Civil Society.  There are different imperatives.  And I think it's interesting nonetheless that you do have some companies and some governments doing that.  So I think, you know, the point of this is to create, in my point of view, an analytical framework that could give rise to a set of principles, and we know that the Santa Clara Principles have just been updated and launched, and I'm putting in the chat what is in the net medial statement about multistakeholder principle.  But personally, I don't think that definition of multistakeholder is enough because, again, to the point that we've just spent the past hour going through, you know, what does meaningful and accountable participation actually mean, and that's why I'm really excited by this framework that we've put together because I think it really helps us think through that.  And then therefore get to ‑‑ you know, this is a kind of a high‑level principle, but I guess what we're thinking the next steps could be is a more operational set of principles.  Thanks. 

>> FARZANEH BADIEI: Thank you.  So we have ‑‑ yes, exactly.  The operational principles that we can also give ‑‑ that they can actually be implemented and improve the processes, and we can actually measure how much the processes have improved. 

     So we have 5 more minutes.  And apparently there is a top‑down rule that we have to be very punctual.  So I'm just going to ‑‑ I don't see many comments in chat.  If you have any last words on our next steps, our panelists or in chat, then let's just take a round and talk about the next steps and finalize it.  Okay.  Dia, I'm going to put you on the spot. 

>> DIA KAYYALI: Oh.  I mean, honestly, for me, Courtney said everything that I wanted to say.  I think that ‑‑ I guess this is my last point.  I think that principles like this can help Civil Society even if for nothing else, they can help Civil Society judge whether a process is something that's worth us participating in, because as I said, I've been involved in every one of these.  There are weeks where 40 to 50% of my time is taken up with multistakeholder work.  Again, particularly with these three initiatives.  And so I think that we need to have a way of deciding where to allocate our time, and certainly I would look at this as a starting point for assessing that. 

>> FARZANEH BADIEI: Great.  Thank you.  So, Ellen, you're a part of the New Zealand government now and working on Christchurch Call, where do you want to see this initiative of ours go?  How can it help you? 

>> ELLEN STRICKLAND: I mean, I think there's been a lot of really useful food for thought around different aspects.  The thing that's kind of resonating in my mind is, you know, we had these criteria, but the why are we working together in multistakeholderism?  We've heard some really different views here, right is this we think about it and I think it's important to reflect some people do it because it's a normative process.  Others see it as something you have to do7 to battle your enemy, you know, in a way that, you know, better now and later and then speaking up on you.  But I think that, you know, my experience with the Christchurch Call early on and what I hope for the future is actually about a better outcome on the work, that the people who got involved got involved because they were experts, because they cared about the topic and the impacts it would have.  And they really believed that a better outcome would be brought through, you know, engagement of the different views, and that's why I brought up that term influence, to actually understand each other's perspectives and come out with a way forward that is a better way forward and it isn't trying to win and get your way.  It's trying to understand others' perspectives and find a better way forward to deal with what you have in front of you, which is a complex, you know, Internet and complex problem.  So that's my hope and attempt I've seen in action amongst some of the people that are here now.  Yeah. 

>> FARZANEH BADIEI: Great.  Thank you.  And Erin, you've got one minute.  We have one more minute. 

>> ERIN SALTMAN: I feel like I interjected more than others because once we get started, it's hard to shut me up so I'll keep it green.  Again, I think multistakeholderism and when you bring other to the people, it has to be output and impact‑oriented.  We've tried to do that.  I think it can always get better.  And I think to Dia's point, we've always tried in this evolving space to make sure that when people participate, one, if they miss a session of something, they're not penalized for it because people are on different time zones.  I can tell you working groups with 25 country participants is like a five‑dimensional Rubik's Cube and we're switching back and forth between times to make sure nobody feels overly burdened at least half the time but also implementing ways that people can communicate that aren't forcing them to be in time and space meetings.  So trying to put in things like joint notes where people can follow up and see where last time's notes if they missed it or Slack channels.  There's no perfect way but we're trying to put in just sideways ways of communicating and working together that don't force time zone compliance or physical time in your day.  And I think that's a work in process, and there's some things being developed in the last two years that help with that.  But that's the best way so that, again, that time period, especially on CSOs, how can we alleviate that?  And I think that's where more guidance will be needed in the future as well to make sure it's not physically demanding, especially if you're involved in more than one initiative. 

>> FARZANEH BADIEI: Great.  Thank you.  So from what I can see from the discussion, we need to ‑‑ it seems like we've been talking about multistakeholder principles for a long time.  We need to, like, pass that and go to the operational principles and come up with, like, something more concrete and implementable.  So we are going to publish a draft framework soon, and we will distribute it, and you can comment on it.  And, Milton, any last words?


>> MILTON MUELLER: I would just say that I liked Ellen's question about why are we doing this?  Why are we concerned about multistakeholderism at all?  And I think the key answer to that is that, you know, when we had the Internet kind of grow unexpectedly, we created a nonjurisdictional space.  And we've been struggling with the problem of global versus ‑‑ global governance because many democracies have, you know, multistakeholder processes or representational processes for doing government.  But the problem is the Internet is not bounded by these national borders.  So one of the key rationales for multistakeholderism in Internet governance is the fact you can be transnational.  People can be represented not by their government as if everybody in a, you know, 80 million‑person society has the same view.  But they can be represent themselves, and they can have, in effect, new forms of institutions that can engage in self‑governance or as I like to put it popular sovereignty. 

>> FARZANEH BADIEI: Great.  We are violating the top‑down rule of ending this punctually.  I want to thank the panelists and also the participants.  Thank you so much.  And you will hear from us soon with the framework.  And thank you again.