In the past couple of years, there has been increased scrutiny on different mega-platforms like Meta, Google, etc, regarding privacy matters and human rights infringements. The companies have been fined by European regulators and some cases are even going on. In this regard, Meta has rolled out its first annual human rights report, and you may not be surprised by the company’s perspective. A source entails that the 83-page paper elaborates Meta’s approach to human rights issues in 2020 and 2021, with an emphasis on defending the company’s policies for combating misinformation and abuse.
Moreover, the company stated that its strategies for combating health disinformation (in light of COVID-19), implicit threats, and related issues reflected a “balancing” between free speech and other rights, such as life, security, and elections.
Meta Releases its First Human Rights Report but with a few Loopholes
The paper also detailed Meta’s efforts to prevent human rights violations using its Ray-Ban Stories smart eyewear. Both privacy issues and possible harms to vulnerable populations, such as women, children, and minorities, were analyzed by the corporation.
Loopholes in the Human Rights Report:
However, the report will not appease critics of Meta who want an answer regarding misinformation and violence in India. The social media giant only gave a summary of an independent human rights impact assessment for India, indicating that law firm Foley Hoag found “possible” links between Facebook, WhatsApp, and other platforms with hate speech and safety threats. Meta made modifications, such as bolstering local moderation teams and cracking down on concerted harm and hate speech. However, the corporation did not release the complete report and did not commit to implementing Foley Hoag’s suggestions.
There are further loopholes as well. There was no mention of claims of biased content moderation in the research related to India. There is also no substantive consideration of the metaverse, as Meta did not declare its transition until October 2021, leaving little room for AR and VR to influence the human rights report. Any significant revisions will have to wait until 2023.
Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that Meta is addressing rights problems more explicitly than in the past.