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31 Jan 2020

Rebecca MacKinnon, Melissa Brown, and Jasmine Arooni, Ranking Digital Rights

Ranking Digital Rights Winter 2020 investor update

"Digital rights 2020 outlook: Market realities and regulation are raising the bar", January 2020 

[The] Investor Update draws on the findings of the 2019  [Ranking Digital Rights (RDR)] Corporate Accountability Index to offer institutional investors insights into key human rights risks of the world’s most important internet, mobile, and telecommunications companies... The Index... offers investors a clear framework to evaluate how companies can prevent or mitigate risks to users’ privacy, expression, and information rights... 2019 RDR Index evaluated whether companies carry out comprehensive due diligence addressing the full range of risks to internet users and affected communities associated with their business operations... Investors need to focus on governance issues that affect how dominant social media platforms’ content rules are formulated and enforced as well as how algorithms and artificial intelligence are used to shape content or profile users... Facebook, Twitter, and Alphabet’s Google... have not offered any evidence of having conducted human rights impact assessments on their rules, content policing processes, or their use of algorithms, machine learning, or other artificial intelligence tools... By examining company performance on specific RDR Index indicators, investors can gain a more granular picture of specific types of risk... [M]ost companies still fail to publish any data about actions they are taking to enforce terms of service and community standards... In 2020 the RDR research team will expand the methodology for the RDR Corporate Accountability Index to address human rights harms associated with targeted advertising, algorithms, and machine learning.