November 5, 2019

Content Governance request for proposals

This Research Award is now closed


An ongoing global conversation is informing how social media and technology companies develop their rules to determine what is and isn’t allowed on their platforms. Facebook’s set of rules is called the Community Standards, and these aim “to create a place for expression and give people voice.”

Facebook is ultimately responsible for enforcing these standards, which we do by making millions of content decisions every week. To support transparency, oversight, and independent judgment, we have also committed to establishing an independent Oversight Board, which you can read about more in this Newsroom post.

Many people — researchers, advocates, experts, and others — have given their input on how this Oversight Board could be developed. This feedback has informed the way we are moving forward and has been instrumental in strengthening the design of this new institution. In addition, we do recognize that the Oversight Board, as an idea, sits within a history of scholarship and advocacy in a wide range of areas, including online speech, law and technology, digital constitutionalism, multi-stakeholderism, content moderation, content governance, journalism, applied ethics, free expression, digital rights, human rights, tech policy, and other related fields of study.

There is a need for expanding a diverse and independent body of research and advocacy work across these disciplines, in support of content governance for digital platforms. Thus, we are requesting proposals for academic research or civil society advocacy in the areas listed above. Proposals do not have to be limited to the Oversight Board. They should, however, support a specific research problem or advocacy issue related to online content governance.

In 2019, Facebook will grant awards between $50K to $100K USD per awardee to fund projects of up to 12 months in duration. We encourage applicants with multidisciplinary backgrounds to participate. This includes individual researchers and advocates addressing a well-defined problem, as well as multiple organizations with a diverse set of skills to solve a more complex multidisciplinary challenge. We encourage emerging scholars to apply.

Awards will be funded by Facebook Research, separate from the Oversight Board and its trust.

Payment will be made to the proposer’s host institution as an unrestricted gift. With this, overhead is typically limited to 5–8 percent.

Applications are now closed

Application Dates

When applicable, awardees will be invited to attend workshops to meet with Facebook and other experts. Attendance is not mandatory to qualify for the award, but it is encouraged.

  • Launch Date November 5, 2019
  • Deadline Friday, December 6, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. PST
  • Winners Announced December 2019


To apply

We ask applicants to submit a 2–3 page proposal. Proposals should include:

  • A research question and a clear statement of work.
  • A summary of the project (1–2 pages) explaining the area of focus, a description of the project, relevant prior work, and a timeline with milestones and expected outcomes (remember, the timeline should be no more than 12 months).
  • A draft budget description (<1 page) including an approximate cost of the award and explanation of how funds would be spent. Proposals from small collaborative teams are encouraged.
  • Name(s) of the project personnel involved in the proposed work, along with their CV/résumé.
  • Indication of any previous or current connections/collaborations with Facebook (in which case, please provide context and name the Facebook contacts). Successful awardees will be listed on the Facebook Research website and, in the spirit of the award, are encouraged to openly publish any findings/insights from their work.


  • Funding will be $50k to $100K per proposal, depending on the specific requirements.
  • Payment will be made to the proposer’s host university or organization as an unrestricted gift.


  • Organizations must be a nonprofit or nongovernmental organization with recognized legal status in their respective country (equal to 501(c)(3) status under the United States Internal Revenue Code).
  • Applicants must be the Principal Investigator or Project Manager on any resulting award.
  • Applicants may submit one proposal per solicitation.

Timing and dates

  • Applications are now closed.
  • Awardees will be notified by the end of the calendar year.
  • When applicable, awardees will be invited to attend workshops to meet with Facebook and other experts. Attendance is not mandatory to qualify for the award, but it is encouraged.