What’s up: Meta Platforms in an internal study on February 2 reported that gender imbalance is a significant obstacle in Facebook’s business growth, said Reuters. On the same day, Meta also reported Facebook’s first-ever quarterly drop in daily users due to higher mobile data costs in India. As per the “high-level overview of the growth trends” internal study, many women distanced themselves from the “male-dominated social network” due to privacy and safety concerns. Content safety, unwanted contact, nudity were some factors contributing to the gender imbalance – a problem the platform continues to struggle with in India. It may be mentioned that this survey was conducted over two years until 2021-end. Why it matters: Facebook, Meta, and social media in general have often been criticized on grounds of promoting hate speech and an unsafe environment online, including on gendered lines. It has also been accused of political bias. In July 2022, Meta’s Human Rights report claimed that it has enhanced the bullying and harassment policy for stronger protections against gender-based harassment. However, whistleblower Frances Haugen has spoken about how Facebook prioritises its own interests over controlling various harms through its platforms, including human trafficking. Gender imbalance: The study found that men accounted for 75 percent of Facebook’s monthly active users in India in 2021. Unequal gender distribution was more pronounced among Facebook users as compared to internet users across India. The report cited online safety concerns and societal pressures as added deterrents for women. Further researchers found that 79 percent…
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