New Content Governance Principles In Times Of Crisis: Twitter, Meta, Google Must Uphold


Social media platforms continue to fail the global
majority during armed conflict, crises, and war. From
Ethiopia to Syria and Myanmar, human rights are repeatedly
ignored or deliberately discounted by companies like
Twitter, Meta, and Google who allow disinformation to
flourish, hate speech to fester, and unjust and inconsistent
take down practices to control the narrative.

Not
anymore. Through the new Declaration
of principles for content and platform governance in times
of crisis
launched today, November
29
, at the Internet
Governance Forum
, Access Now and partners lay
out principles for these platforms to overhaul the status
quo and help ensure privacy, freedom of expression, and
access to information for all. Read the full
declaration
and snapshot.

“The
amount of damage social media companies’ opaque,
under-resourced, and ignorant policies and practices have
caused during times of crisis and turmoil is
immeasurable,” said Marwa Fatafta, MENA Advocacy
and Policy Manager at Access Now
. “Their modus
operandi has been: if it’s not in English, if it’s not
happening in ‘the West,’ and it’s not affecting their
profit margins, then it’s not worth investing time and
energy into. It’s time to change how these companies
think.”

Born out of a RightsCon 2022 Solve
my Problem
session
, which
brought together content moderation experts and civil
society actors exasperated by social media companies’
inadequate and inequitable approach to content and platform
governance, the Declaration sets out the principles
platforms must adhere to in times of crises, with specific
recommendations for action before,
during, and post crises,
including: conducting rapid and conflict-sensitive
human rights due diligence to address the
living cycle of crises, situations of conflict, and human
vulnerabilities; creating meaningful engagement
channels
with relevant independent stakeholders;
implementing transition phases before
winding down platform operations; and more.

“Social
media companies have no excuse to not uphold, promote, and
solidify the rights of people on their platforms during
critical situations,” said Eliška Pírková,
Europe Policy Analyst and Global Freedom of Expression Lead
at Access Now
. “They have a key role to play
before, during, and post crises, and must find solutions to
situations that can be addressed and mitigated before they
unfolded.”

Social media can be a lifeline during
crises — a place to document human rights abuses, access
information, and crowdsource humanitarian assistance. At the
same time, it can be used by malicious actors to spread
disinformation and hate speech, incite violence, and
surveil. Companies like Twitter, Meta, and Google must step
up and abide by the Declaration and commit to human
rights for all.

The Declaration was developed
by Access Now, ARTICLE 19, Mnemonic, the Center for
Democracy and Technology, JustPeace Labs, Digital Security
Lab Ukraine, Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law (CEDEM),
and the Myanmar Internet Project.

Read the full
declaration
and snapshot.

© Scoop Media

 



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