Here Are the Civil Rights Audit Recommendations Facebook Has Declined

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Meta, the social media conglomerate formerly known as Facebook, declined recommendations from a civil rights audit to direct user reports of voter interference to moderators and let users appeal voter interference content that they reported and was not taken down. 

The company says it has implemented 55% of civil rights recommendations from an audit completed in July 2020 conducted by civil rights expert Laura Murphy. Meta’s civil rights team was formed as a result of the audit and has grown to 9 full-time employees, a company blog post explained Thursday. The company is still considering 7% of the recommendations. 

Meta is facing public scrutiny for what some lawmakers as an apathetic approach to the political and social harms the company causes. Leaked documents by whistleblower Frances Haugen have brought the spotlight to the technology giant. Murphy herself described Haugen’s claims against Meta as “deeply disturbing” in October. Meta’s report on its progress regarding civil rights serves as a way to address public concerns while describing what changes the company is making. 

Routing all voter interference reports to content reviewers to make a determination may unintentionally slow our review process, rendering us less effective at removing voter interference content at scale,” the report said. “As the vast majority of content reported as voter interference does not violate the company’s policies, it is not building a process for appeals of this specific reported content.”

The company formerly known as Facebook is tracking is progress on a civil rights audit. Meta

The company has put recommendations “under evaluation” including putting in place mandatory systems to address bias in artificial intelligence and machine learning models as well as publicizing data related to diversity and inclusion efforts. The company highlighted changes that are being made like ending targeting advertising on sensitive topics, voting registration efforts, and Meta’s improved hiring practices with respect to diversity. 

This report marks the beginning of the Civil Rights Team’s path to enhance protections for marginalized communities and demonstrates our commitment to move toward increased equity, safety and dignity on our platforms,” the blog post, authored by Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Facebook’s Civil Rights team Roy L. Austin, Jr. said. “Meta is committed to that evolution and its long-term progress.

 

Here’s a list of all the civil rights recommendations Facebook has declined to implement or is still evaluating:

These descriptions have been taken directly from Meta’s report. 

Algorithmic Bias 

  • Implement mandatory, rather than voluntary, company-wide systems, processes, and guidance to avoid, identify, and address potential sources of bias and discriminatory outcomes when developing or deploying AI and machine learning models; require all teams building models to follow comprehensive best practice guidance; and regularly test existing algorithms and machine-learning models
  • Introduce mandatory training on understanding and mitigating sources of bias and discrimination in AI for all teams building algorithms and machine-learning models 

Status: Under Evaluation

Content Moderation 

  • Include in the Community Standards Enforcement Report more detailed information about the type of hate speech being reported and removed from the platform, including information on the groups being targeted
  • Improve transparency and consistency of content moderation appeals decisions
  • Gather data on the enforcement of events policies to identify how long it takes Facebook to remove violating content (and whether those response times vary based on the type of content or group targeted) and use those metrics to identify patterns, gaps, or areas for improvement; capture data so that new spikes and trends can be identified quickly and systematically; invest in further study and analysis of hate on the platform and commit to taking steps to address trends, policy gaps, or enforcement issues and to understand how different groups are targeted for hate, how well Facebook is alerting content reviewers to the specific ways that violating content manifests against certain groups, how to more quickly identify and remove attempts to organize events designed to intimidate and harass targeted groups, and where Facebook could focus its improvement efforts

Status: Under Evaluation

Diversity and Inclusion 

  • Publicize data and feedback related to D&I efforts from quantitative and qualitative assessments, feedback from surveys and focus groups, and third-party research in the annual Diversity Report so that the civil rights community and general public can better understand the effectiveness of the company’s programs and initiatives; develop data and metrics for assessing the effectiveness of inclusion and D&I integration efforts, including whether/how Facebook’s initiatives, policies, trainings, and tools designed to advance inclusion and D&I integration have impacted employee experiences or have translated to progress in cultivating a culture of inclusion 

Status: Under Evaluation

Elections and Census 

  • Disclose additional data regarding voter suppression on the platform, including information about the groups targeted by this content
  • Revise content policies so that Facebook’s policy prohibiting calls to exclude people from political participation based on protected characteristics is applied to posts from politicians, even if the post is deemed “newsworthy” 

Status: Under Evaluation

  • Begin routing user reports of voter interference to content reviewers to determine whether reported content violates the Voter Interference Policy and should be removed
  • Allow users to appeal if they report content they believe violates the Voter Interference policy but the content reviewer determines there was no violation 

Status: Declined

 

Here Are All the Civil Rights Changes Facebook Has Declined or Is Still Evaluating

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