Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Media Corporations: Incorporating Human Rights Through Rankings, Self-Regulation and Shareholder Resolutions
19 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2018 Last revised: 29 Apr 2018
Date Written: 2018
This article examines the emergence and evolution of selected ranking and reporting frameworks in the expanding realm of business and human rights advocacy. It explores how indicators in the form of rankings and reports evaluating the conduct of transnational corporate actors can serve as regulatory tools with potential to bridge a global governance gap that often places human rights at risk. This article examines the relationship of transnational corporations in the Internet communications technology sector (ICT sector) to human rights and the risks presented to the right to freedom of expression and the right to privacy when ICT sector companies comply with government demands to disclose user data or to conceal information users seek. Specifically, it explores the controversial role of transnational ICT corporations in state censorship and surveillance practices. The article explains how conflicts over corporate complicity in alleged abuses served to catalyze change and lead to the creation of the Global Network Initiative, a private multi-stakeholder project, and the Ranking Digital Rights Initiative, an industry independent market-based information effort. Both aim to promote more responsible business practices in the social media industry sector. In conclusion, the article argues that regulating corporate reporting of information relevant to assessing the potential for adverse human rights impacts is necessary.
Keywords: Human Rights, Business and Human Rights, Privacy, Freedom of Expression, Censorship, Surveillance, Internet, Social Media, Corporate Social Responsibility, Indicators, Governance
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