Civil rights groups ask Facebook to make its 2020 Indian Human Rights Report public

New Delhi, January 21 (KMS):  A letter from 20 rights groups has urged the social media giant Facebook (now Meta) to release its 2020 Human Rights report on hate speech on its platforms in India for which it had instituted an investigation.

The letter, signed by top global human rights groups, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and India Civil Watch International, sent to the company earlier this month was made public earlier this week.

“The current perception is that Facebook is not committed to respecting rights in this case. The India HRIA is an important element of Facebook’s human rights due diligence and, at a minimum, should be made public, in line with the company’s responsibility to respect human rights,” read the letter.

The company had hired Foley Hoag in 2020 to independently investigate its impact in India but the report is yet to be released despite growing calls for transparency by human rights groups which have expressed deep concern over the role the company’s platforms play in spreading hate against Muslims in the country.

“As a result of the consistent and continuous barrage of hate on social media, particularly on Facebook, Indian Muslims have been practically dehumanised and rendered helpless and voiceless,” said Zafarul-Islam Khan, a former chairman of Delhi Minorities Commission, said at a press conference organised by Facebook’s critics

Last year, Frances Haugen , a former employee turned whistleblower triggered a storm after she leaked internal documents which exposed Facebook as it revealed that the company was not doing enough to tackle problematic content in countries where it was most likely to cause harm.

Rights activists Teesta Satalvad said at a press conference that facebook’s funding to counter misinformation is stark in India, the country which is its biggest market after the US.

“Facebook allows unchecked inciting content that has become an instrument for targeting minorities, Dalits and women in India,” she said.

Activists said in the letter that tech companies should follow the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which urge that they should “be prepared to communicate this externally, particularly when concerns are raised by or on behalf of affected stakeholders.”