Facebook has released a report about human rights assessment to evaluate the role of its services in Cambodia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.
Director of human rights Miranda Sissons and product policy manager, human rights Alex Warofka said “Freedom of expression is a foundational human right that allows for the free flow of information. We’re reminded how vital this is, in particular, as the world grapples with Covid-19, and accurate and authoritative information is more important than ever. Human rights defenders know this and fight for these freedoms every day. For Facebook, which stands for giving people voice, these rights are core to why we exist.”
After the research was carried out, Facebook took steps to formalize an approach to determine which countries require more investment, including increased staffing, product changes and further research. The social media platform is also committed to extending end-to-end encryption across all of its messaging products.
In Cambodia, Facebook worked with BSR on the assessment of its role in the country, and with Article One for Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Among the recommendations that were similar across all three reports are Improving corporate accountability around human rights; Updating community standards and improving enforcement; Investing in changes to platform architecture to promote authoritative information and reduce the spread of abusive content; Improving reporting mechanisms and response times; Engaging more regularly and substantively with civil society organizations; Increasing transparency so that people better understand Facebook’s approach to content, misinformation and News Feed ranking; Continuing human rights due diligence.
Sissons and Warofka alsoprovided information about specific steps that have been taken in the three countries where assessments were conducted. Distribution of frequently reshared messages was reduced in Sri Lanka, as they are often associated with clickbait and misinformation.
Owing to government surveillance of internet and social media use in Cambodia, the company expanded ways for users to keep their accounts secure and encouraged people to opt for authenticator applications for more secure two-factor authentication, rather than relying on SMS.
Key updates to the social network’s community standards included a policy to remove verified misinformation that contributes to the risk of imminent physical harm, as well as protections for vulnerable groups (veiled women, LGBTQ+ individuals, human rights activists) who would run the risk of offline harm if they were “outed.”