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Meta said it is studying the recommendations, but did not give any definitive commitment to the expected implementation.
Facebook-parent company, Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ: META) has released its first-ever annual human rights report which notably highlights how the company is addressing its human rights impacts. The report was spearheaded by Miranda Sissons, the company’s Director of Human Rights, and Iain Levine, Product Policy Manager for Human Rights.
Arguably the first social media and one of the largest in the world today, Meta Platforms has notably come into the crosshairs of regulators and human rights activists in recent times for promoting discrimination and violence against minorities, and in general. For what it’s worth, many consider Facebook, the company’s flagship social media platform as one of the platforms where hate speech is spread in areas like the US, Myanmar, and India among others.
Expectations of the Human Rights Report was that it will appropriately address the finding of the law firm Foley Hoag LLP whom it commissioned to conduct an independent assessment of its operations in India in 2020. While the company only posted a summary of the assessment in this report, there remains no plan according to Sissons that the tech giant will release the finding in its entirety now or in the future.
This Meta annual human rights report has been considered a selected reporting, without an adequate plan to implement the recommendations contained in the assessment. Meta, however, said it is studying the recommendations, but did not give any definitive commitment to the expected implementation.
“It’s as clear evidence as you can get that they’re very uncomfortable with the information that’s in that report,” said Ratik Asokan, a representative from India Civil Watch International who participated in the assessment. “At least show the courage to release the executive summary so we can see what the independent law firm has said.”
Is Meta Platforms Doing Enough to Tame Harmful Content?
As a global platform for decentralized interactions, Facebook and its parent company, Meta Platforms will always be placed under intense scrutiny for serving as a hub where hate speech is being spread. While the human rights report is expected to serve as a means to allay all fears, the opposite seems to be the impact of the 83-page report.
Besides the specific expectations that were dashed, the report highlights the firm’s work protecting the privacy of journalists and human rights defenders, increasing youth safety on Instagram, fighting exploitation across all of its apps, and protecting free and fair elections around the world.
According to Simmons, the company is not just making claims about taking its human rights obligations seriously, it is filling positions to make this a possibility. Simmons said she is directly overseeing as many as 8 human rights staff, while there are over a hundred more working on related human rights projects.
With a lot more clarity needed on the company’s metaverse pursuits, expectations mount about how the company will specifically address all privacy concerns associated with both its hardware and software components respectively.