Meta’s 83-page Human Rights Report
July 2022

By Cat Gladman

The safety and dangers of social media has been a hot topic over the past few years. With claims that the lack of monitoring from leaders in the sector has led to the spread of misinformation and extremist views, relating to, for example; the US Capitol Insurrection, the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as elections in Myanmar and the Philippines, just to name a few.

But it seems that Meta might be trying to take a stand relating to its own practices to alleviate this, or at least that’s what the company would like to imply. Meta recently released its first ever annual human rights report, the 83-pager looks at how Meta is working to align with human rights principles in its various product decisions and developments. Including the right to freedom of expression, the right to privacy, the right to equality and non-discrimination, child protection, and more.

But what does it actually say?

Just three pages in, our skepticism starts to set in, “Meta’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. We seek to advance our mission in a manner consistent with the promotion of humanity’s fundamental rights: freedom of expression, privacy, non-discrimination, and more.” No mention of profits or growth at this stage. It feels like the report is saying what people want to hear. 

Despite getting off to a rocky start, the report lays out an in-depth analysis and overview of key human rights stances and how Meta has formed its policies to align with such and its intentions to evolve them over time. It cites a variety of key guidelines including the Universal Declaration of Human rights and highlights the work it has been doing with experts in the field to better integrate these stances into its platforms.

Meta seemingly goes on to take accountability for its mistakes and missteps relating to the 2020 US Presidential Election, the 2020 Myanmar Election and the Covid-19 pandemic. The report lays out the actions it took to identify emerging threats and systems Meta put in place to mitigate anticipated risks.

The report also looks at future Meta technology and platform development and how Human Rights policies will be integrated like VR and the Metaverse. It’s good to see Meta thinking further into the future, especially when we consider the monopolisation it’s currently developing within the digital world.


Overall the policy is interesting. It gives a very long and somewhat waffly look at Meta’s “evolving” human rights policies and how it sought to change with community need and demand. Although the report seems like an attempt to raise the company’s profile and support, lest we forget Meta is in the middle of a huge PR crisis. None of the current policies laid out feel particularly ground-breaking, much of it we would have expected to see from a platform with its size and influence.

Although to give some credit, the company clearly recognises that it doesn’t always get it right, and this report provides some insight into its efforts to address future and existing concerns.

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