Report that has been pending since 2020 aims to highlight the platform’s impact on human rights in India
In a letter sent to the company, earlier this month, many human rights groups including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and India Civil Watch International urged Meta to release the report
Earlier, in November, human rights groups had told the Wall Street Journal that Facebook (now Meta) was delaying its report on India
Human rights groups are calling on Meta (formerly called Facebook) to release the human rights impact assessment about hate speech on the social platform in India.
In a letter sent to the company, earlier this month, many human rights groups including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and India Civil Watch International urged Meta to release the report.
The letter stated that, “The current perception is that Facebook is not committed to respecting rights in this case. The India HRIA is an important element of Facebook’s human rights due diligence and, at a minimum, should be made public, in line with the company’s responsibility to respect human rights.”
In response, Meta’s director of human rights policy, Miranda Sissons, was quoted by Reuters as saying, “Given the complexity of this work, we want these assessments to be thorough. We will report annually on how we’re addressing human rights impacts, in line with our Human Rights Policy.”
The social media giant had commissioned the U.S-based law firm Foley Hoag to assess in 2020. The report aims to assess the social media platform’s impact on human rights in the country and investigate hate speech on its platforms.
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Foley Hoag’s Partner and chair of global business and human rights practice, Gare Smith, was quoted by Reuters as saying, “Such projects are complex, particularly in a country as diverse and large as India.” He also added that the law firm had ”taken numerous steps to ensure the assessment is completed fairly and independently.”
Meta has been under intense scrutiny since whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked internal documents, in September last year, that showed the platform struggling to police problematic content. Even while the social media giant expanded globally, its efforts to combat hate content on its website seemed to have fizzled.
Earlier, in November, human rights groups had told the Wall Street Journal that Facebook (now Meta) was delaying its report on India.
This comes amidst growing clamour for crackdown on hate speech and online misinformation in India. Social media platforms like Facebook (now Meta), Twitter and WhatsApp have been in the dock for inflaming tensions and spreading misinformation on the platform, which, in many cases, have had had real-life consequences.
It is high time now that measures are put in place to ensure misinformation is identified and removed from platforms as soon as it is flagged. It could have long-reaching consequences for India in general and its people in particular.