Meta's mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. We build social technologies to enable the best of what people can do together.
Meta’s Human Rights Policy
Our principles are: give people a voice; serve everyone; promote economic opportunity; build connection and community; keep people safe and protect privacy.
We recognize all people are equal in dignity and rights. We are all equally entitled to our human rights, without discrimination. Human rights are interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.
We are committed to respecting human rights as set out in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). This commitment encompasses internationally recognized human rights as defined by the International Bill of Human Rights—which consists of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights—as well as the International Labour Organization Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
Depending on circumstances, we also utilize other widely accepted international human rights instruments, including the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women; the Convention on the Rights of the Child; the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union; and the American Convention on Human Rights.
We specifically recognize that the universal obligation of non-discrimination is a necessary—but not sufficient―condition for real, lived, equality.
Human rights also guide our work in developing responsible innovation practices, including when building, testing and deploying products and services enabled by Artificial Intelligence (AI).
We recognize the importance of the OECD Principles on Artificial Intelligence, which are widely adopted and endorsed by the G20. In particular, we note the framework’s recommendation that:
"AI actors should respect the rule of law, human rights and democratic values, throughout the AI system lifecycle. These include freedom, dignity and autonomy, privacy and data protection, non-discrimination and equality, diversity, fairness, social justice, and internationally recognized labor rights.”
We recognize the diversity of laws in the locations where we operate, and where people use our products. We strive to respect domestic laws. When faced with conflicts between such laws and our human rights commitments, we seek to honor the principles of internationally recognized human rights to the greatest extent possible. In these circumstances, we seek to promote international human rights standards by engaging with governments, and by collaborating with other stakeholders and companies.
How We Implement
We implement our commitment to human rights using approaches set out in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). These approaches include (1) applying human rights policies; (2) conducting human rights due diligence and disclosure; (3) providing access to remedy; (4) maintaining oversight, governance and accountability; and (5) protecting human rights defenders;
The potential human rights impact of Meta technologies and programs varies significantly across time, location, content and affected communities. For this reason, we identify and prioritize the most salient human rights issues in each context using the UNGP’s framework of severity (scope, scale, remediability) and likelihood.
Applying Relevant Policies
Our respect for human rights—and their underlying principles of equality, safety, dignity, privacy and voice—is applied through:
- Our Community Standards outline what user-generated content is and is not allowed on Meta. We look to international human rights experts when developing these standards, among other stakeholders, and when deciding how to implement them in practice. We seek to meaningfully engage with potentially affected groups and other stakeholders through our Stakeholder Engagement program.
- Our membership in the Global Network Initiative (GNI), whose Principles and Implementation Guidelines are based on international human rights standards. Our compliance with our GNI commitments is independently assessed every 2 years.
- Our Responsible Supply Chain program defines and implements our expectations of our suppliers, contractors and vendors based on key international human rights standards. Our program standards include the Responsible Business Alliance Code of Conduct; our Anti-Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement; and our Conflict Minerals Policy.
- Our Privacy Principles, and comprehensive privacy program. Through the Privacy Review process for new products or updates, we look closely at how we use data, assess risks and put safeguards in place to address them. We are also members of the multi-stakeholder Reform Government Surveillance initiative, which advocates for government data requests to be rule-bound, narrowly tailored, transparent, subject to strong oversight and protective of end-to-end encryption.
- Our Law Enforcement Guidelines and our Data Policy measures safeguard the data of billions of users from arbitrary or overbroad requests. In addition, we assess, under our policies, whether requests are consistent with internationally recognized standards on human rights, including due process, privacy, free expression and the rule of law. For example, if we determine that a government request is deficient, we push back and engage governments to address any apparent deficiencies. Where appropriate, we will legally challenge deficient requests.
- Our Transparency Reporting, published regularly, which gives visibility into how we enforce our Community Standards and Community Guidelines, respond to government requests and protect intellectual property;
- Our Responsible Innovation Dimensions, which product teams use early in the product development process to anticipate and mitigate potential harms to individuals, communities and society that could be caused by our products, and were developed to be consistent with human rights principles;
- Our Responsible AI efforts, through which we have established a multi-disciplinary team of ethicists, social and political scientists, policy and rights experts, researchers and engineers, which focuses on understanding fairness and inclusion concerns associated with the deployment of AI in Facebook products;
- Our Diversity and Inclusion practices. We commit to strong diversity and inclusion practices in our workplace as one important driver of equality in our workplace, and as a vital input for the development of products and policies that bring equal value to all people;
- On Instagram, our content policies are outlined in our Community Guidelines. We safeguard data through our Instagram Data Policy. We also have an Equity Product Team focused on algorithmic fairness and equitable product experiences; and
- Our private messaging service WhatsApp is committed to privacy as an enabling right, which underpins freedom of expression, freedom of association and the safeguarding of human dignity. By upholding the privacy and security of people’s messages via end-to-end encryption, so that only the people who are communicating with each other—and nobody in between, not even WhatsApp—can read or listen to what is sent, we help protect the most vulnerable groups from surveillance and abuse. We empower users to control their own privacy, and to keep themselves and their communications safe and secure.
We are also building greater awareness of equality and non-discrimination concepts, and how they apply to our products and policies. This work is being done by expanding our knowledge and driving action through our Civil Rights Task Force, Civil Rights Vice President, commitments to civil rights training, onboarding of civil rights expertise and further development of internal civil rights accountability processes.
Conducting Human Rights, Due Diligence and Disclosure
We conduct human rights due diligence to identify such risks, and to help us create strategies to avoid, prevent and mitigate them. We also seek to identify and support opportunities for our products, policies, and operations to promote human rights.
We use a variety of due diligence methodologies, including, but not limited to, human rights impact assessments.
We pay particular attention to the rights and needs of users from groups or populations that may be at heightened risk of becoming vulnerable or marginalized. We are committed to identifying relevant such groups for each context, undertaking meaningful engagement to hear their hopes and concerns, and to protecting and promoting their rights when using our products.
When conducting anti-slavery and human trafficking due diligence, which is part of our responsible supply chain program, we verify supplier conformance with our standards through dialogue, independent audits and assessments, worker surveys, and other forms of assurance. Any nonconformances identified are actively addressed through our corrective action and key performance indicator programs. We are committed to engaging meaningfully and proactively with our supply chain partners, building supplier capacity, and responding quickly to challenges as they arise.
We believe it is important to communicate about our human rights work. We’ll report annually on how we’re addressing human rights impacts, including relevant insights arising from human rights due diligence, and the actions we are taking in response. We may also occasionally choose to publish a specific, individual piece of due diligence if we believe doing so meaningfully advances the human rights field.
Our human rights due diligence goes beyond what is captured in these disclosures. For example, human rights are essential to other areas of Facebook’s business. These include, but are not limited to: our efforts to help prevent election interference; assess and improve our content review operations; ensure platform integrity; foster responsible innovation; implement and uphold privacy principles; assess how we respond to government data disclosure requests; uphold the highest supply chain standards; and understand our social impact.
Providing Remedies for Human Rights Impacts
Where a company has caused or contributed to adverse human rights impacts, the UNGPs state the company should provide for or cooperate to remedy these impacts.
Meta’s Code of Conduct sets out guidelines for business conduct required of all Meta Personnel, and is accompanied by multiple channels to report concerns or violations, and potential remedies. The ability to make anonymous reports is covered by Meta's Whistleblower and Complaint Policy. Retaliation or intimidation against individuals reporting issues in good faith is strictly forbidden. Further details are available in the Code of Conduct or in the Whistleblower and Complaint Policy.
We give people the option to appeal a broad range of content-moderation decisions, absent pressing safety concerns. Upon further review, we may restore content that was incorrectly removed and remove content that was incorrectly left up. We share related data regularly in our public transparency reporting in the Community Standards Enforcement Report. We are seeking to further enhance transparency around these complex issues of unprecedented speed and scale.
Further, the Oversight Board has the mandate to protect freedom of expression and other human rights by making independent decisions about emblematic pieces of content it selects from among those submitted to it for appeal, and by issuing advisory opinions on Meta's content policies. By providing a new mechanism for an independent review of certain content decisions, the Oversight Board is intended to increase access to remedy for Facebook and Instagram users, and other relevant rights holders.
When designing the Oversight Board, we reviewed its proposed charter, bylaws and operations against the effectiveness criteria for operational grievance mechanisms and access to remedy set out in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. We believe the Oversight Board breaks new ground for access to remedy in the social media industry, and hope it serves as a useful model for other companies and initiatives.
Protecting Human Rights Defenders
We seek to protect human rights defenders, as defined by the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in their work to peacefully promote and protect human rights.
The term “human rights defenders” includes human rights organizations; members of vulnerable groups advocating for their rights; professional and citizen journalists; non-violent political activists; and any member of the public who raises a human rights concern.
At Meta, we recognize human rights defenders are a high-risk user group. We strive to offer specific measures to protect their safety and well-being. On social media, these risks can include digital security risks; online attacks against individuals or groups; surveillance; and censorship demands from governments or their proxies. More importantly, these online risks may have the potential to lead to offline harms, including violence, arrest and termination of employment.
We proactively engage with human rights defenders to understand their needs and the heightened human rights risks they face. We strive to offer specific measures to protect their safety and mitigate such risks.
We condemn all threats, acts of intimidation and retaliation, persecution and physical and legal attacks against human rights defenders. We strive to support their important work, and particularly the foundational rights of freedom of expression, assembly and political participation, as defined by internationally recognized human rights standards. We do not provide governments with direct access or “back doors” to people’s information, and we would challenge any order that sought to have us redesign our systems to undermine the encryption we provide to protect people’s data.
Governance, Oversight and Accountability
As a global social media and product company, Meta is connected to, and impacts, myriad human rights issues.
We endeavor to promote a climate of respect and awareness for human rights throughout our business. Our code of conduct sets out guidelines required of all Meta personnel.
Meta’s Human Rights Director is part of the company’s global policy division. The Director, along with a dedicated team, advises on key product, policy, and corporate decisions; leads human rights due diligence efforts. She works closely with legal, operations, policy, and product leadership and staff to ensure we live up to the expectations of the UNGPs, as well as our commitments as a member of the Global Network Initiative.
We ensure salient human rights issues are directed to the most relevant Meta decision making forum, including the content policy team (e.g. the Policy Forum), and the privacy team (e.g. the Privacy Cross-Functional Working Group). Our teams working on community operations, law enforcement and security, responsible innovation, product integrity and public policy — among others — also regularly identify, prevent, or mitigate salient human rights risks.
Significant and challenging matters are regularly escalated to the Vice President for Global Affairs and Communications and the Vice President and General Counsel, and may include further input from Meta’s Chief Operating Officer, the Chief Diversity Officer, and the Chief Executive Officer.
The Vice President for Global Affairs and Communications and the Vice President and General Counsel shall oversee the implementation of this policy. Salient human rights issues shall be reported periodically to the Board of Directors (or a committee thereof), as appropriate.
This policy is founded on meaningful engagement with rights holders and other stakeholders. These include civil society organizations, governments, and academics; as well as the UN, its special procedures, and other international entities. This engagement informs our community standards and other issue-specific policies; improves our human rights due diligence; and enables better access to remedy.
This policy will be reviewed regularly to ensure it is updated.