TECH

Meta’s own report says it harms Palestinian human rights


A fire breaks out as the sun rises in Khan Younis after an Israeli air strike on targets in the southern Gaza Strip, early May 12, 2021.

A fire breaks out as the sun rises in Khan Younis after an Israeli air strike on targets in the southern Gaza Strip, early May 12, 2021.
picture: Yusuf Masoud (Getty Images)

Meta, the company founded in Principle In building communication and giving people a voice around the world, they have done just the opposite in the past year and imposed speech policies that violated Palestinians’ freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. This assessment, which claims that Meta’s policies have negatively affected the basic human rights of Palestinians, did not come from a major technology critic or an angry former employee. Instead, it came from a human rights assessment commissioned by Meta.

The Reportconducted by Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), which investigates the impact of Meta’s actions and political decisions over a brief but harsh period in Israel military escalation In the Gaza Strip that It said It left at least 260 people dead and more than 2,400 housing units reduced to rubble. The BSR report determined that Meta was simultaneously able to enforce erroneous content removals and truly malicious and infringing content.

“Meta’s actions in May 2021 appear to have had a negative impact on human rights… on the rights of Palestinian users to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and the political right Participation and non-discrimination, and thus about Palestinians’ ability to share information and ideas about their experiences as they happen,” the report states. “This was reflected in conversations with affected stakeholders, many of whom shared with BSR their view that Meta appears to be another powerful entity that suppresses their voices so that They are powerless to change.”

The BSR report says that Meta has excessively enforced the removal of content on a higher per-user basis for Arabic-speaking users. This disparity has contributed to silencing Palestinian voices. At the same time, the report claims that the Meta’s “proactive detection” rates of potentially infringing Arabic content were significantly higher than those of Hebrew content. While the Meta has constituted an “antagonistic speech classifier” for Arabic, there is no such thing for Hebrew. The report argues that the lack of an anti-Hebrew compilation may have contributed to the lack ofEnforce potentially harmful Hebrew content.

Facebook and Instagram reportedly saw a rise in the number of potentially review violations at the start of the conflict. According to BSR metrics, pallets saw a tenfold increase in enclosure volume on peak days. Meta simply did not have enough Arabic or Hebrew speaking staff to handle this influx of cases according to the report.

Meta’s over-enforcement of certain speech metastasized over time. Impacted users would reportedly receive “strikes” that would negatively impact their visibility on platforms. That means a user wrongly flagged for expressing themselves would then potentially have an even more difficult time being heard in future posts. That snowballing effect is troubling in any setting but especially dubious during times of war.

“The human rights impacts of these errors were more severe given a context where rights such as freedom of expression, freedom of association, and safety were of heightened significance, especially for activists and journalists, and given the prominence of more severe DOI policy violations,” the report reads.

Despite those significant shortcomings, the report still gave Meta some credit for making a handful of “appropriate actions” during the crisis. BSR applauded Meta’s decision to establish a special operations center/crisis response team, prioritize risks of imminent offline harm, and for making efforts to overturn enforcement errors following user appeals.

Overall though, BSR’s report is a damning assessment of Meta’s consequential shortcomings during the crisis. That’s not exactly the way Meta framed it though in their . in Blog postMiranda Seasons, Meta’s director of human rights, acknowledged the report but expertly danced around its most important statement – that Meta’s actions harmed Palestinian human rights. Instead, Seasons said the report “revealed industry-wide long-standing challenges around modifying content in conflict areas.”

BSR 21 developed specific policy recommendations aimed at addressing the company’s adverse negative impact on human rights. Meta says she will stick to only ten of those while partially implementing four more.

“There are no quick overnight fixes for many of these recommendations, as BSR explains,” Seasons said. “While we have made significant changes as a result of this exercise already, this process will take time – including time to understand how best to approach some of these recommendations, and whether they are technically feasible.”

Even though Meta goes ahead with some of these political prescriptions, she wants to make absolutely sure that you know they aren’t the bad guys here. In a footnote in their response document, Meta says, “The publication of this response should not be construed as the acceptance, approval or acceptance of any of the findings, conclusions, opinions, or views set forth by the BSR.”

Meta did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.

Mita is no stranger to human rights issues. Activist Human rights groups and organizations, including AI They accuse the company of facilitating human rights abuses for years. Don’t forget meIn 2018, the top UN human rights commissioner said the company’s response to evidence that it was fueling state genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar had been “slow and ineffective”.

Since then, Meta has commissioned numerous human rights impact assessments in Myanmar, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and India, ostensibly to address some of her critics’ concerns. Meta claims that its assessments provide a “detailed and straightforward form of human rights due diligence,” allowing it and other companies to “identify potential human rights risks and impacts” and “promote human rights” while seeking to “prevent and mitigate risks.”

While digital rights experts who have spoken to Gizmodo in the past have said this is better than nothing, they still can’t hold the company really responsible. Meta has yet to release a much-needed human rights assessment of its platform’s impact in India, leading critics to. accuse buried company. Meta commissioned this report in 2019.

In July, mETA has released a dense book of 83 pages human rights report Summarizes the entirety of his efforts so far. Unsurprisingly, Meta gave itself a high score. privacy hHuman rights experts who spoke with Gizmodo are emphatically Criticize The report, with one equivalent to “company publicity”.

“Let’s be absolutely clear: This is just a lengthy PR product with the words ‘Human Rights Report’ printed on the side,” Accountable Tech co-founder Jesse Lehrich told Gizmodo.


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