Meta’s first human rights report is largely complacent

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Meta Today came out its first annual human rights report, which the company says includes “ideas and actions from [Meta’s] human rights due diligence on products, countries and responses to emerging crises.” The 83-page report, spanning 2020 and 2021, has a mostly smug tone, defending Meta’s disinformation strategy but not addressing allegations of biased content moderation.

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Regulators and civil rights groups have said over the years that Meta fails to provide adequate protections against hate speech, both in the US and in countries such as Myanmar, where Facebook was used encourage violence against minorities. There is evidence that Meta’s business practices played a role in abuses by digital redline to insurrection at the US Capitol. The Meta itself has acknowledged this (to some extent); internal study held a company that discovered that most people who join extremist groups do so because of the company’s recommendation algorithms.

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A human rights report prepared by Meta’s human rights director Miranda Sissons, who joined the company three years ago, contains little revelation. Meta claims to have struck a “balance” between freedom of expression and safety, as well as policies to combat health misinformation and emerging hidden threats. In the report, the company also explores the privacy and security risks associated with Ray-Ban Stories, its glasses that can capture photos and videos, including how data from the glasses can be stored and executed in the cloud.

But the report glosses over – among other things – Meta’s efforts to date in India, where its products have often been overwhelmed with inflammatory content. Wall Street Magazine and others have shown. Meta has commissioned an assessment of its operations in India in 2020 from the law firm Foley Hoag LLP, but today’s report contains only a summary of that assessment, and Sissons said that Meta has no plans to release it in its entirety.

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In conclusion, Foley Hoag analysts note that the Meta platforms could potentially be “associated with significant risks to human rights caused by third parties,” including “hate propaganda that incites hostility, discrimination, or violence.” Meta says it’s looking into the recommendations, but hasn’t committed to implementing them yet; human rights groups have accused the company narrows down the scope of the assessment and delays its completion.

As Engadget notes that the report also avoids delving into the implications of the metaverse, an increasingly confusing area where human rights are at stake. Reports suggest that the metaverse as it exists today in Meta products—a mixture of social virtual reality experiences—has sexual abuse and moderation problem. One corporate watchdog documented misogynistic and racist comments, inadequate child protection, and an accountability system that leaves the door open for repeat offenders.

In recent years, Meta has commissioned various special evaluations of its activities, including in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Myanmar. high profile leaks and rumors stepped up pressure on the company to show it is making progress in stemming the tide of malicious content. Sissons said CNBC that about 100 people are now working at the Meta on human rights issues, and that the team she directly oversees has grown to eight people.


Credit: techcrunch.com /

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