Facebook unveiled a new company-wide venture to affirm its commitment to “respect human rights in our business operations, product development, policies and programming”. The seems to be less of a change in Facebook’s rules – like Bloomberg , the company hasn’t changed its content policies – but rather a framework to better support its current efforts around human rights issues.
As part of the new policy, Facebook announces that it will publish an annual report documenting “how we respond to human rights concerns arising from our products, policies or business practices.” The company will also begin reporting to its board of directors the most “critical” human rights issues it deals with. It also establishes a fund to provide “offline assistance”, such as security, to activists, journalists and other “human rights defenders”. Facebook has not said how much money it is investing in the effort, but that it will start distributing funds in Asia later this year.
Facebook has faced strong criticism for its handling of human rights issues in the past. Especially in Myanmar, where the company has been accused of not doing enough to prevent hate speech and disinformation that has helped fuel mass violence against the country’s Rohingya population.