Facebook is promoting for a human rights policy director to hitch its business, positioned both at its Menlo Park HQ or in Washington DC — with “conflict prevention” and “peace-building” among the many listed tasks.
In the job advert, Facebook writes that because the get to and impact of its varied merchandise continues to develop “so does the responsibility we have to respect the individual and human rights of the members of our diverse global community”, saying it’s:
… on the lookout for a Director of Human Rights Policy to coordinate our company-wide effort to handle human rights abuses, including by each state and non-state actors. This function will likely be accountable for: (1) Working with product groups to make sure that Facebook is a optimistic pressure for human rights and apply the teachings we be taught from our investigations, (2) representing Facebook with key stakeholders in civil society, government, worldwide establishments, and business, (3) driving our investigations into and disruptions of human rights abusers on our platforms, and (4) crafting insurance policies to counteract unhealthy actors and help us be certain that we proceed to function our platforms per human rights rules.
Among the minimal necessities for the function, Facebook lists expertise “working in developing nations and with governments and civil society organizations around the world”.
It provides that “global travel to support our international teams is expected”.
The firm has confronted fierce criticism in current years over its failure to take larger duty for the unfold of disinformation and hate speech on its platform. Especially in worldwide markets it has focused for business progress by way of its Internet.org initiative which seeks to get extra individuals ‘connected’ to the Internet (and thus to Facebook).
More connections means extra customers for Facebook’s business and progress for its shareholders. But the prices of that progress have been solid into sharp aid over the previous a number of years because the human impact of handing thousands and thousands of individuals missing in digital literacy some very highly effective social sharing instruments — with out a commensurately massive funding in local education schemes (and even in moderating and policing Facebook’s personal platform) — has change into all too clear.
In Myanmar Facebook’s instruments have been used to unfold hate and speed up ethic cleaning and/or the concentrating on of political critics of authoritarian governments — incomes the corporate widespread condemnation, including a rebuke from the UN earlier this year which blamed the platform for accelerating ethnic violence against Myanmar’s Muslim minority.
In the Philippines Facebook additionally performed a pivotal function within the election of president Rodrigo Duterte — who now stands accused of plunging the nation into its worst human rights disaster because the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos within the 1970s and 80s.
While in India the recognition of the Facebook-owned WhatsApp messaging platform has been blamed for accelerating the unfold of misinformation — resulting in mob violence and the deaths of several people.
Facebook famously failed even to identify mass manipulation campaigns going on in its own backyard — when in 2016 Kremlin-backed disinformation brokers injected plenty of anti-Clinton, pro-Trump propaganda into its platform and garnered a whole lot of thousands and thousands of American voters’ eyeballs at a discount basement price.
So it’s hardly stunning the corporate has been equally naive in markets it understands far much less. Though additionally hardly excusable — given all of the alerts it has entry to.
In Myanmar, for instance, local organizations which might be delicate to the cultural context repeatedly complained to Facebook that it lacked Burmese-speaking employees — complaints that apparently fell on deaf ears for the longest time.
The cost to American society of social media enabled political manipulation and elevated social division is definitely very excessive. The prices of the weaponization of digital data in markets such as Myanmar seems incalculable.
In the Philippines Facebook additionally not directly has blood on its fingers — having supplied companies to the Duterte government to help it make simpler use of its instruments. This similar government is now waging a bloody ‘war on drugs’ that Human Rights Watch says has claimed the lives of round 12,000 individuals, including kids.
Facebook’s job advert for a human rights policy director consists of the pledge that “we’re just getting started” — referring to its said mission of serving to individuals “build stronger communities”.
But when you think about the impact its business selections have already had in sure corners of the world it’s arduous to not learn that line with a shudder.
Citing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (and “our commitments as a member of the Global Network Initiative”), Facebook writes that its product policy team is devoted to “understanding the human rights impacts of our platform and to crafting policies that allow us both to act against those who would use Facebook to enable harm, stifle expression, and undermine human rights, and to support those who seek to advance rights, promote peace, and build strong communities”.
Clearly it has an terrible lot of “understanding” to do on this entrance. And hopefully it’ll now transfer quick to know the impact of its personal platform, circa fifteen years into its nice ‘society reshaping experience’, and prevent Facebook from being repeatedly used to trash human rights.
As effectively as representing the corporate in conferences with politicians, policymakers, NGOs and civil society teams, Facebook says the brand new human rights director will work on formulating inner insurance policies governing person, advertiser, and developer habits on Facebook. “This includes policies to encourage responsible online activity as well as policies that deter or mitigate the risk of human rights violations or the escalation of targeted violence,” it notes.
The director may even work with inner public policy, neighborhood ops and security groups to attempt to spot and disrupt “actors that seek to misuse our platforms and target our users” — whereas additionally working to help “those using our platforms to foster peace-building and enable transitional justice”.
So you need to marvel how, for instance, Holocaust denial continuing to be being protected speech on Facebook will sq. with that said mission for the human rights policy director.
At the identical time, Facebook is presently hiring for a public policy manager in Francophone, Africa — who it writes can “combine a passion for technology’s potential to create opportunity and to make Africa more open and connected, with deep knowledge of the political and regulatory dynamics across key Francophone countries in Africa”.
That job advert doesn’t explicitly reference human rights — speaking solely about “interesting public policy challenges… including privacy, safety and security, freedom of expression, Internet shutdowns, the impact of the Internet on economic growth, and new opportunities for democratic engagement”.
As effectively as “new opportunities for democratic engagement”, among the many function’s different listed tasks is working with Facebook’s Politics & Government team to “promote the use of Facebook as a platform for citizen and voter engagement to policymakers and NGOs and other political influencers”.
So right here, in a second policy job, Facebook seems to be persevering with its ‘business as usual’ technique of pushing for extra political exercise to happen on Facebook.
And if Facebook needs an accelerated understanding of human rights points world wide it could be higher suggested to take a extra joined up method to human rights throughout its personal policy employees board, and at the least embrace it among the many listed tasks of all of the policy shapers it’s seeking to rent.