Facebook launches fund to support human rights activists. Another hogwash?
Facebook has been indirectly instrumental in serious human rights abuses across the world. The company has now responded by pledging to publicly share annual report focusing on human rights. Facebook will additionally create a new fund to ensure the security of human rights activists and journalists. The human rights policy is a first ever official mandate Facebook has declared on the sensitive issue.
Facebook had played a pivotal role in the human rights abuses in Myanmar, with various instances of WhatsApp lynch mobs occurring in India as well. The company now says it will be updating its board with human rights updates along with the public reports. Facebook described the policy update as a voluntary act, emphasizing the fact that it's under no compulsion to do so.
Although the blog post detailing the new human rights policy highlights certain content rules, they have already existed in the company's extant policies and regulations. What's interesting, however, is Facebook's emphasis on anti-slavery measures. Big Tech never really grows a conscience unless there is some ulterior motive involved. Facebook could potentially plan on using the anti-slavery clause to push back against Apple.
This isn't a stretch given how Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had famously commanded employees "to inflict pain" on Apple after it went after Facebook's ad revenues. Apple has been caught using Uighur slave labor in its factories. In fact, the company also actively lobbies against US laws aimed at preventing forced labor in China. The latest move could give Facebook solid leverage against Apple.
Apple had a similar conscientious awakening earlier this year, where it inexplicably became concerned about user privacy. Not surprisingly, in reality that was the iPhone maker going right for Facebook's jugular by disrupting its user tracking-based ad revenue model on iOS. Facebook could be using Apple's strategy of hobbling the competition under the pretense of acting for the greater good of the people.