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The Facebook Oversight Board, The Recount, and Challenging Large Companies with John Battelle

John Battelle is a leader responsible for a large part of inspiring the direction of digital, and the Co-Founder and CEO of Recount Media. John discusses why he moved from Northern California to New York, ways we can reimagine fundamental things in society using data, and why his students at Columbia University give him great hope for the future. John also shares his thoughts and opinions about the Facebook Oversight Board and the kind of market pressures he feels we need to encourage.


  • John is the Co-Founder and CEO of Recount Media, an author, founder of seven companies, and an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University.
  • The assumptions we had in the early internet did not prevail, yet instead informed the leaders of the massive tech industries in the ideals and values that they have today. What is different, however, is the set of cultural regulations around the rules, and a community to remind us to filter and stay on a topic.
  • We’ve got platforms driven by advertising models, which are two or three steps from human control and driven more by engagement rather than community regulatory norms.
  • The Recount is a company reinventing the video format around the story of politics. They are taking advantage of the original ideas and creating a powerful new business model around data.
  • The Facebook Oversight Board is a group of independent jurors, intentionally diverse but appointed by Facebook, who will hear cases that come up, and determine whether or not that case should be adjudicated. It will inform policy, but not set policy.
  • John explains the market mechanism approach to how companies may be broken up, and how he is on the side of allowing new companies to liberate the data of the big existing ones.
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