User Safety Alert: Meta Accused of Disregarding Dangerous Content Reports

Protecting Users: Meta Under Fire for Allegedly Ignoring Content Reports

Trusted Partner Program is an integral part of our efforts to enhance our policies, compliance processes, and products in order to keep our users safe on our platforms, according to Meta. Nevertheless, according to some dependable partners, Meta neglects its primary initiative, leaving it substantially deficient in resources, short of workers, and prone to “operational failures” as a result.

This is one of the primary allegations made in a report that was released on Wednesday by the nonprofit media organization Internews. The Trusted Partner program is made up of 465 different civil society and human rights organizations from all around the world. It is intended to offer them a channel specifically designed for reporting problematic and potentially hazardous content to Facebook and Instagram. Some examples of this kind of content include death threats, hacked accounts, and encouragement of violence. Meta guarantees that these reports will be prioritized and escalated as soon as possible.

However, Internews asserts that some participants are subjected to the same conditions as regular users, including having to wait months for responses to a report, being ignored, and feeling alienated due to inadequate and generic communication. The study indicates that response times are unpredictable, and in some instances, Meta does not react at all or provide any reason. It is said that this applies even to content with a high degree of temporal sensitivity, such as significant threats and demands for violence.

“Two months plus. And in our emails, we tell them that the situation is urgent, people are dying, the political situation is very sensitive, and it needs to be dealt with very urgently. And then it is months without an answer”, one anonymous trusted partner said.

For the purpose of compiling the report, Internews gathered the opinions of 23 reliable partners from each of the world’s most significant regions. Additionally, Internews included its own insights as a partner in the program. The majority of firms reported having a similar experience, with one notable exception being Ukraine, where the level of responsiveness was far higher than normal. Partners in Ukraine can anticipate receiving a response within three days, however in Ethiopia, responses to reports connected to the Tigray War may not be received for several months.

Previous leaks and publications about Meta’s global priorities are consistent with the conclusions presented in this article. In regions other than North America and Europe, where users cannot rely on content being continuously verified by AI and numbers of human Meta moderators, trusted partners are extremely vital. However, Frances Haugen, a former employee of Facebook who left the company two years ago, leaked internal documents that indicated that how barely Meta cares about the southern regions of the world. Facebook and Instagram have not been successful in preventing violent extremists from instigating violence in some countries, including Ethiopia, Syria, Sri Lanka, Morocco, and Myanmar. It’s possible that part of the explanation for this lies in the rumored failure of reliable partners.

Around 50 human rights and tech accountability, organizations sent an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg and Nick Clegg in May 2023 after Meareg Amare, a professor from Tigray, was the target of a racist Facebook assassination attempt and later killed in Ethiopia. Abraham, his son, unsuccessfully attempted to request that Facebook remove the posts.

“By failing to invest in and deploy adequate safety improvements to your software or employ sufficient content moderators, Meta is fanning the flames of hatred, and contributing to thousands of deaths in Ethiopia,” the letter claims.

Rafiq Copeland, a platform accountability consultant at Internews and the author of the study, stated that while trusted flagger programs are essential to the safety of users, Meta’s partners are extremely upset with the way in which the program has been conducted. Copeland is of the opinion that additional investments are required to guarantee the user-friendliness and security of Meta’s platforms.

Initially, the evaluation was going to be a joint effort between you and Meta. In 2022, the business decided to terminate its involvement in the project. The statement made by Meta states that “the reporting issues of the small sample of Trusted Partners who contributed to the report do not, in our view, represent a full or accurate picture of the program”. According to Meta, Internews made a request for the company’s assistance in communicating with its collaborators about the evaluation; however, Meta declined to help.

Meta does not disclose its typical or targeted timings for response, nor does it share the total number of personnel that dedicate their full time to working on the software. In response to the report, a representative declined to comment.

Check Out: Twitter Threatens to Sue Meta Over the New Threads App.

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