Meta Can’t Pivot From Massive Q2 Global Harms; Diminished Earnings Driven By Sinking Brand [w/Member Quotes]
Censoring Choice, Silencing Whistleblowers, Platforming Terrorists and Selling Guns, Meta Is Losing Users As Morale, Influence Plummet
27 July 2022 — Meta today announced a drop in revenue, driven by users fleeing for less toxic platforms. While market trends and a crackdown on privacy violations have impacted the company’s bottom line, a quick review of the tech giant's Q2 performance shows why Meta is fast becoming a pariah brand:
- Meta faces a reckoning in court, with the Attorney General of Washington DC, Karl Racine, announcing his office is suing Facebook founder, CEO, and Chairman Mark Zuckerberg for his personal involvement in Cambridge Analytica
- Meta whitewashed its own human rights record, in a report that omitted virtually all violations of human rights globally and that included only a 4-page summary of its “Independent” Human Rights Assessment of its platforms in India, in spite of promising to release the full report.
- Meta censored more than 250,000 posts about abortion access in just the first two days alone following the US decision to reverse Roe v. Wade, and has sparked fear among women concerned their Facebook data could be used to confirm they sought out reproductive health care.
- Meta was forced to admit they allowed some users up to “ten strikes” before banning them for selling guns or gun parts on its platforms
- Meta was caught serving as a platform for terrorist organizations in a stunning report from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, Under-Moderated, Unhinged and Ubiquitous: Al-Shabaab and the Islamic State Networks on Facebook.
- Facebook is refusing to drop a “racist” attempt to silence a Kenyan whistleblower, in a suit stemming from labor abuses by a major content moderation subcontractor.
- Meta has proven unable to stem disinformation and misleading content in critical upcoming elections, including in Kenya.
This is the record — and for shareholders, this is your investment: hate, disinformation, obfuscation, and fear. For anyone convinced Facebook’s Oversight Board can address these challenges, their first annual report this past quarter showed how false that promise is: Meta has fully implemented less than a third of the Oversight Board’s recommendations.
“People are tired of being treated as ‘products’ by Meta,” said RFOB member and Co-CEO of Free Press Jessica Gonzalez. “Meta has shown it will jump at any opportunity to collect and sell user data for millions, while only devoting a pittance to content moderation and common-sense safeguards that protect users from hate, disinformation, and violent threats online. It is no surprise Meta is struggling to retain users when they do so little to address their toxic platforms.”
“Facebook should use the lesson from its revenue loss as an opportunity to implement much-needed corrective measures to increase trust in the Facebook brand,” said Phumzile Van Damme, RFOB member and disinformation combatting specialist. “Reports of hate speech once again fueling violence in Ethiopia are cause for serious concern, and it is such incidents Zuckerberg should be focusing on instead of staff cuts to protect his multibillion-dollar net worth.”
“Earnings reports should not be the only barometer to assess a company’s value, but what’s clear is that Meta’s eroding revenue is a consequence of its failure to preserve the civil and human rights of its 2 billion users. They can’t be trusted to tell the truth let alone solve complicated issues like hate speech and disinformation,” said Steven Renderos, Executive Director of MediaJustice and an RFOB member.
“Their latest debacle was the release of the Global Human Rights Report, a misleading document that relied on research they paid for. In India, they’re refusing to release the results of the Human Rights Impact Audit it conducted, undermining the work of human rights organizations like Equality Labs who have been fighting to get Facebook to address dangerous and genocidal speech. In the U.S. Meta is spinning good PR about protecting its employees’ access to abortion while censoring abortion content on its platforms. Let’s hope this earnings report is a wake-up call to Meta that failing to address human rights is not just a bad look, it’s bad business.”
“Facebook changed its name to Meta to avoid culpability for the overwhelming harm its practices caused users,” said Shireen Mitchell, Founder, Stop Online Violence Against Women Inc. “Most recently, they’ve announced that they are removing CrowdTangle — a tool that allows third-party research reviewers to monitor when harmful content exists that their algorithms and internal moderators have missed; this also violates their own terms of service. They are losing users and ad revenues because they believe they themselves are the only ones that can fix these harms while at the same time, failing to take the necessary steps to do so.”
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