The first human rights report by the social media giant revealed that meta platforms (which include Facebook and Whatsapp) were exposed to human rights risks, including “restrictions on freedom of expression or information” and hatred that incites hostility due to the actions of third parties.
The report is based upon an independent Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA), which Meta commissioned in 2019 to assess the potential human rights risks in India, and other countries that are related to its platforms.
Foley Hoag LLP managed the project.
The report stated that the HRIA had noted the possibility for Meta’s platforms being connected to human rights risks caused primarily by third parties. These included restrictions on freedom of expression and information, third party advocacy of hate that incites violence, hostility, or discrimination, and rights to nondiscrimination. There were also violations of privacy and security of persons rights.
Interviews with 40 civil society leaders, academics, journalists were part of the HRIA.
Meta faced criticisms and reputational risk due to hateful or discriminatory speech from end users, according to the report.
Also, the assessment revealed a gap between company and outside stakeholder understandings about content policies.
According to the report, it was launched in March 2020. However, Covid-19 caused some limitations. The research and content ended on June 30, 2021.
According to the report, the assessment was done independently from Meta.
According to the report, recommendations were made by HRIA for Meta regarding implementation and oversight, product intervention, and content moderation. Meta is currently studying these recommendations and will use them as a guideline to help identify and guide related actions.