Facebook is a leading internet media company. It was founded in 2004 and publicly listed in 2012. The company’s social media platform is the largest in the world, with 2.5 billion monthly active users in December 2019. Facebook also provides communications services through its Messenger and WhatsApp applications, and photograph sharing through Instagram. The company has more than 70 offices around the world and its services are available in most countries.
Facebooksupports accessibility through features such as automatic alternative text, which uses image recognition to create a verbal description of photographs,to helppeople who are visuallyimpaired.The company commissioned Copenhagen Economics to calculate its indirect economic impact in Europe.
Facebookdemonstrates support for open innovation through membership of standards bodies and sharing of source code. The company also provides public data sets to researchers and others working in areas such as disaster relief and disease prevention. Facebook has accelerators for start-ups in locations around the world. Additionally, the company reportshow many female technical staffmembers it has.
While Facebook offers a version of its social media product that doesnot incur data charges in some countries, the product doesnot provide access to the entire internet. This means there is an opportunity forFacebook to support access to digital technologies for vulnerable groups. Similarly, there is an opportunity for the company to support digital opportunities for women and girls. Facebook should also report on how the economic value it generates is distributed among its stakeholders in the markets in which it operates.
Facebook has an opportunity to support digital skills development and school connectivity more widely among vulnerable and under–represented groups. The company could also consider providing detailed metrics and carrying out a third-party assessment of its social media marketing skillsinitiative.
There is an opportunity for Facebook to enhance trust by following best practice toreport onsenior-level oversight and accountability for cybersecurity,and howthe company monitors and remedies security incidents. Also, although Facebook sometimes discloses major data breaches, it should report all breacheson an annual basis andin line with internationalstandards.Consideringthe company’s influence on the social media ecosystem, Facebook should make a high-level commitment to protecting children online. It should alsoincorporateprivacy controlsfor parents in its products.
There are opportunities for Facebook to enhance its support for the technology start-up ecosystem and todisclose how ethics are considered inits research and development, particularly artificial intelligence.