The purpose: “the audit doesn’t situate Facebook’s decisions in the context of it competitors, instead evaluating the company’s behavior on its own. The approach is useful, because social media companies often get a pass for behavior that’s standard in the industry, an approach that lowers standards across the board rather than looking at real world impacts.”
The verdict: “This report outlines a number of positive and consequential steps that the company has taken, but at this point in history, the Auditors are concerned that those gains could be obscured by the vexing and heartbreaking decisions Facebook has made that represent significant setbacks for civil rights,”
SoMeToday highlighted these key criticisms raised in the report against Facebook.
- Allowing harm and divisive rhetoric.
- Failure to address voter suppression tactics.
- Lack of representation in leadership.
- The need to create a more diverse and more inclusive culture.
Another article in the CampaignUK quoted Sandberg saying “There are no quick fixes to these issues – nor should there be… What has become increasingly clear is that we have a long way to go. As hard as it has been to have our shortcomings exposed by experts, it has undoubtedly been a really important process for our company. We would urge companies in our industry and beyond to do the same.”
and “While we won’t make every change they call for, we will put more of their proposals into practice.”
One thing’s clear. As a business, Facebook lacks accountability and unless they start taking their role in both safeguarding free speech and curbing the spread of false information and extremism seriously, as users and advertisers, we’re left with audits like these to remind us of our role in this mess.
Here’s the full 89-page report.