This week, the United States, Costa Rica, the Netherlands, Republic of Korea and Republic of Zambia will co-host the second Summit for Democracy, bringing together the public and private sector in support of a common set of goals to advance democracy. Today, we’re sharing our commitments to counter the misuse of technology, enable secure and private connections and respect human rights, among others, in line with the Summit’s call of the private sector:
- Countering the surveillance-for-hire threats together with industry peers: On Monday, as part of Tech Accord, Meta, alongside Microsoft, Cisco and Trend Micro, published a set of principles and industry best practices to help guide our collective response against malicious groups that indiscriminately target people around the world. Together, we shared specific industry principles for countering surveillance-for-hire groups, including through maintaining the integrity and security of our industry’s products and services, investing in cybersecurity awareness for our users and the public more broadly and jointly identifying further ways to actively counter the cyber mercenary market. These principles are based on our years of experience with countering these threats, and align with our own recent policy recommendations that we put forth to enable a broader whole-of-society response.
- Enabling secure, private connections: Internet disruptions threaten to deny peoples’ human rights and cut people off from receiving and sending vital news and information. We recently launched a feature that allows users to connect to WhatsApp by proxy when their internet connection is disrupted or blocked. We’ll also further integrate end-to-end encryption into our messaging services to protect the right to privacy, in line with our commitment to uphold the fundamental human rights of people, especially those historically marginalized.
- Countering government abuse of digital technology: We’ve made significant investments in countering the targeting of our systems by authoritarian governments who attempt to surveil regime critics, opposition figures, and human rights defenders. When we see this type of activity, we take action on their accounts, block their domain infrastructure from being shared on our services and, where feasible and as appropriate, notify people who we believe were targeted by these malicious operations.
- Respecting human rights and protecting human rights defenders: Since releasing our Corporate Human Rights Policy in March 2021, we have carried out various forms of human rights due diligence, including in product design and as a result of crisis and conflict, to help prevent or mitigate human rights risks to the extent possible. We will continue our commitment to protect human rights defenders and to ensure that, through product, policy, and operational interventions, we support their on-platform presence and ability to promote human rights. Underpinning these commitments is the imperative to “know and show” as set out in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which creates an expectation of transparency and accountability for our human rights responsibilities.
We support the principles enshrined in the Declaration for the Future of the Internet and the Copenhagen Pledge on Tech and Democracy, which seek to make digital technologies work for democracy and human rights. We also support and contribute to ongoing UN processes, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and other relevant multilateral and multi stakeholder fora, including the Internet Governance Forum and Freedom Online Coalition.