A Closer Look: Meta’s First Annual Human Rights Report

By Miranda Sissons, Director of Human Rights and Iain Levine, Product Policy Manager for Human Rights


  • Today, we’re publishing Meta’s first annual report on how we’re addressing our human rights impacts.  
  • The report includes insights and actions from our human rights due diligence on products, countries and responses to emerging crises. 
  • It also discusses our work protecting the privacy of journalists and human rights defenders, increasing youth safety on Instagram, fighting exploitation across our apps and protecting free and fair elections around the world.

As we committed to doing, today we are releasing Meta’s first annual Human Rights Report, covering 2020 and 2021, which details how we’re addressing potential human rights concerns stemming from our products, policies or business practices. This report builds on the work we’ve done since 2018 of disclosing human rights impact assessments, as well as on a commitment we made in the Meta Human Rights Policy to report annually on our insights and actions from our human rights work. We’ve sought to ground the report, and our human rights work, in the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

Inside the Report

This report provides more details about our entire approach to managing human rights risks. While some areas of the report have been previously disclosed, many are new, such as the due diligence we performed in regard to COVID-19 and Ray-Ban Stories. 

The report’s structure follows the pillars of the Human Rights Policy. It is our first take at an in-depth human rights disclosure report — something  done by a small but growing number of companies. Similar to how we report on our sustainability work each year, this report will serve as a regular annual disclosure on how we are addressing our human rights impacts that people can expect to see on a regular basis.

It includes details about how we’ve updated our policies as part of an ongoing effort to take human rights considerations into account in an increasingly dynamic world, including:

The report explains how our Data Policy, our Law Enforcement Response Team and our due diligence assessments work together to protect people from unlawful or overbroad government surveillance. It highlights the important role that end-to-end encryption plays on WhatsApp in protecting people’s privacy — particularly journalists and human rights defenders — and how we’re expanding it to our other messaging apps. We show how we manage risks related to human trafficking and exploitation through in-product features that raise awareness, deter violating behavior and offer support to victims. We also note how our Community Standards and Community Guidelines address hate speech, how our advertising policies address non-discrimination, and how our dedicated Civil Rights and Human Rights teams worked across the company during the reporting period to help ensure responsible innovation and accessibility. 

Finally, the report discusses our work to increase teen safety on Instagram, our continuing work to fight child exploitation on WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram and the significant investments we’ve made in teams and technologies to better protect free and fair elections, including dedicated teams focused on election integrity and products that bring people relevant and reliable voting information

Looking Ahead

We hope this report is read in the spirit we wrote it: as a genuine effort to tell the story of our evolving human rights risk management, disclose actions and insights with humility, and develop a strong practice from which to do more. We’re also launching a website today, available in several languages, to share more information on our human rights work. 

As we continue to look to future technologies and the metaverse ahead, we’ll stay focused on building in ways that are inclusive and empowering for everyone.

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