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“Security Concerns” Prevented Meta from Releasing Full Report on Impact of Hate Speech on India

Wall Street Journal reports that Meta withheld parts of its Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) pertaining to hate speech in India

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Security concerns prevented Meta from including the findings of its India-specific investigation into hate speech in its first Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) released in July, as per audio recordings accessed by the Wall Street Journal.  “This is not the report that the human-rights team at Meta wanted to publish, we wanted to be able to publish more,” reportedly said Meta's senior human-rights adviser Iain Levine during private briefings held with rights groups after the report’s release two months ago. Levine informed the group that 120 Meta employees had reviewed the final report—which was also approved by Meta’s Chief Legal Officer, Jennifer Newstead, and President of Global Affairs, Nick Clegg. An Indian-Muslim researcher reportedly present at the meeting described the Big Tech giant’s decision as a “slap in my face and my people’s face who have endured so much hate speech on this platform”. They further requested the report’s full release.  Meta also cited United Nations guidelines cautioning companies against releasing information that could ‘imperil stakeholders’ involved in an investigation.  Why it matters: On September 15th, the Facebook Oversight Board (an independent body shaping Facebook and Instagram’s moderation policies) held discussions with South Asian stakeholders on whether its content moderation policies sufficiently protect users from harm. While dialogue may be a welcome step, Meta’s lack of transparency on the effects its platform has on human rights and minorities in India makes holding it accountable difficult. Instead, Indians are left dependent on the largesse of whistleblowers—such as Frances Haugen and Sophie…

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