Human technology

Meta, owner of Facebook, publishes its first report on human rights

A smartphone with the Facebook logo is seen with the new Meta logo in this illustration taken October 28, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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July 14 (Reuters) – Facebook owner Meta (META.O) released its first annual human rights report on Thursday, after years of accusations that it turned a blind eye to abuses in line that fueled real-world violence in places like India and Myanmar. .

The report, which covers due diligence carried out in 2020 and 2021, includes a summary of a controversial human rights impact assessment in India that Meta commissioned law firm Foley Hoag to conduct.

Human rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have demanded the publication of India’s full assessment, accusing Meta of delaying it. Read more

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In its summary, Meta said the law firm had “noted the potential for Meta’s platforms to be linked to salient human rights risks caused by third parties”, including “the glorification of hatred that incites hostility, discrimination or violence”.

The assessment, he added, did not cover “accusations of bias in content moderation”.

For years, rights groups have raised the alarm about anti-Muslim hate speech stoking tensions in India, the world’s largest Meta market by number of users.

Its top public policy officer in India resigned in 2020 after the Wall Street Journal reported that she opposed applying company rules to Hindu nationalist figures flagged internally for encouraging violence.

In his report, Meta said he was studying India’s recommendations but did not commit to implementing them as he has done for other rights assessments.

Asked about the difference, Meta Human Rights director Miranda Sissons pointed to UN guidelines warning of risks to “affected stakeholders, staff or legitimate commercial confidentiality requirements”.

“The format of the report may be influenced by various factors, including security reasons,” Sissons told Reuters.

Sissons, who joined the company in 2019, said his team now consists of 8 people, while around 100 others work on human rights with related teams.

In addition to country-level assessments, the report outlines his team’s work on Meta’s COVID-19 response and Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses, which involved reporting on possible privacy risks and effects on vulnerable groups.

Sissons said the analysis of augmented and virtual reality technologies, which Meta has prioritized with its “metaverse” bet, is largely happening this year and would be discussed in later reports.

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Reporting by Katie Paul; Editing by Michael Perry

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