Social media giant, Facebook, is looking for a ‘Human Rights Policy Director’ to prevent conflict and build peace at the firm.
TechCrunch reports that Facebook are hiring someone who can coordinate the company’s efforts to “address human rights abuses”, following criticisms that the company has failed to take accountability for the spread of disinformation and hate speech.
The news follows the exposure of Cambridge Analytica, where data of around 50million users was harvested without consent and used in the run up to the 2016 US election, which sparked a national backlash against the site’s privacy policies.
Facebook has also been accused of deepening tensions in Myanmar, with their tools used to spread hate speech and incite ethnic violence. In addition, in the Philippines, Facebook was accused of influencing the election of President Rodrigo Duterte, providing the Government with services to make more effective use of its tools.
The new hire appears to be tasked with addressing this, working with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, to craft “policies that allow us both to act against those who would use Facebook to enable harm, stifle expression, and undermine human rights, and to support those who seek to advance rights, promote peace, and build strong communities.”
The candidate will also be tasked with representing the company in front of politicians, policymakers and NGO’s and will be tasked with formulating internal policies governing user, advertiser, and developer behaviour on Facebook.
Recently, the social media site has ramped up its efforts to combat fake news, through measures including reducing the reach of publishers, demonetizing publishers of fake news and partnering with face checkers. And, according to a study by Stanford University and New York University, interactions with false sites have declined more than half following the 2016 election.
Up until now on the surface, Facebook's approach to ethics have been lackadaisical, but there is hope that by investing in the human rights space, its mission to “build stronger communities” – something that the company claims they are “just getting started on" - will be truly lived.
However, trust in the platform has weakened, in particular, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal with users’ confidence in the company dropping 66%.
Yet this has had nominal affects on Facebook user behaviour. Whilst nine per cent of Americans have deleted their accounts, according to research from Tech.pinions, Facebook’s reach is still vast, serving roughly 214million users in the US and 1.47billion globally, meaning it's impact on global communities cannot be taken lightly.
Image Credit - Facebook © 2018