A consortium of 25 civil society organisations Wednesday published a letter sent to Facebook on January 3 2021, against the delayed release of the India Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) report and lack of action towards addressing grave concerns about the company’s human rights record in India.
The letter was sent to the Facebook Director of Human Rights, Miranda Sissons, reminding the company that the HRIA is an important way through which the company can evaluate its role in spreading hate speech and incitement violence on its services in India. India is the company’s largest market and reports of whistleblowers such as Frances Haugen, Sophie Zhang and former Facebook Vice President Brian Boland, have made it clear that Facebook’s platform has been used to target Muslims and other minorities in India.
The organizations stated:
The current perception is that Facebook is not committed to respecting rights in this case…The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are clear that transparency is a key aspect of human rights due diligence and that in order to account for how they address human rights impacts, companies should be prepared to communicate this externally, particularly when concerns are raised by or on behalf of the affected stakeholders.
In 2020, Facebook (now Meta) had commissioned the law firm Foley Hoag to conduct a Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) for India. The Wall Street Journal recently reported civil society apprehensions about Facebook narrowing the scope of the report by making technical objections and demanding more data. Facebook has yet to respond to the letter or issue any date for the full publication of the HRIA report.