7amleh's statement regarding Meta's recently released update on its progress in implementing the Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) recommendations.
7amleh -The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media welcomed Meta's recently released update on its progress in implementing the Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) recommendations from the Human Rights Due Diligence of Meta’s Impacts in Israel and Palestine in May 2021 report. Nevertheless, and a full year after they were published, 7amleh urges immediate full implementation of all BSR report recommendations.
7amleh acknowledges positive steps indicated in Meta’s recent report, including a long-sought overhaul to the controversial “Dangerous Organizations and Individuals” policy. 7amleh considers this a step in the right direction as the DOI policy tended to disproportionately censor news reporting and political discourse in Palestine. Additionally, 7amleh welcomes the introduction of a Hebrew classifier, and finds it essential that Meta provides data analytics on the classifier’s ability to accurately detect hate speech. 7amleh also considers the addition of a dialect-specific Arabic classifier as a welcome improvement. The aforementioned updates will help in addressing issues related to both over-enforcement and under-enforcement of content moderation decisions.
7amleh was pleased to see positive commitment by Meta to increase transparency on enforcement actions and to communicate actions clearly to users. 7amleh points out that while Meta provided information on progress and implementation, there is still an urgent need for Meta to enhance its commitment to transparency in reporting, sharing, and verifying accountability metrics. Due to issues of top priority to Palestinian users, such as assessing the level of influence Israel’s ‘cyber unit’ has on Meta’s content moderation decisions, 7amleh expects Meta to provide metrics for measuring government takedown requests and how it responds to them.
The urgency arises as realities on the ground for Palestinians are unfortunately mirrored online. As 7amleh continues to document Palestinian digital rights violations, over 75% of the cases submitted to The Palestinian Observatory of Digital Rights Violations (7or) in 2022 & 2023 took place on Meta’s platforms.
Moreover, 7amleh is concerned that Meta has prematurely categorized several BSR recommendations as "complete" or “no further update”, stating that they will no longer provide further updates regarding implementation. 7amleh argues that Meta must commit to continuing this work and continuing to provide progress updates, rather than hastily closing the door to further discussion.
The BSR recommendations were written with an understanding of true transparency in mind, and Meta’s commitment to genuine transparency is put into question whenever it dismisses recommendations such as publishing key elements of internal community operations resources on content moderation to improve user understanding and compliance with Meta’s content policies.
In conclusion, 7amleh reiterates its call on Meta to fully implement all BSR recommendations, to genuinely align with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and to publish data and evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of measures it is implementing.
In addition to their call for full BSR recommendation implementation, 7amleh urges Meta to commit to prevention, mitigation, and remediation of adverse human rights consequences on its platforms. That includes committing to ongoing Human Rights Impact Assessments, fast responses to digital rights violation reports, and enhanced transparency on internal content moderation and external government interference. Additionally, 7amleh hopes Meta continues to engage in meaningful co-design processes with civil society and key stakeholders to improve policies involving Palestinian content. 7amleh hopes this will guarantee offline power imbalances are not replicated in online content moderation decisions.
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