May 03, 2012
Human Rights First Welcomes Facebook as Observer to the Global Network Initiative
Washington, DC – Today Human Rights First welcomes Facebook into the Global Network Initiative (GNI) as an observer. Facebook’s decision is an important step toward possible membership. “Due to its size and scope, how Facebook responds to government requests that affect user privacy and freedom of expression can have major implications for the entire sector,” said Human Rights First’s Meg Roggensack. “Along with millions of others, human rights activists in the Arab Spring and around the globe rely on Facebook as a platform to connect, organize and speak out. We welcome Facebook’s decision as a first step toward possible membership, which would involve adopting the GNI principles and opening themselves to assessment.” The GNI was established in 2008 with the goal of protecting online freedom of expression and privacy in the face of government pressure on companies to comply with domestic laws which may run up against international human rights norms. The multi-stakeholder group is comprised of companies, investors, academics, and civil society organizations, including Human Rights First, a member of GNI’s Board of Directors. “Facebook, the largest social media website, has transformed how people connect online,” concluded Roggensack. “We are encouraged by the company’s willingness to join GNI as an observer."