Supplementary evidence submitted by Instagram
Please find below our responses to the questions; I hope this information is helpful to the Committee.
We take a global approach to child safety, which includes a zero-tolerance policy prohibiting child exploitation, state-of-the-art technologies to prevent, detect, stop and report policy violations, and resources and support for victims. We also collaborate with industry experts in the field of child safety and civil society around the world to combat online child exploitation, because our commitment to this issue does not stop with our apps; it involves the Internet as a whole.
We have welcomed the Studer law because it aims to provide greater protection for children, a shared goal of our company which puts child safety at its utmost priority. While this law focuses on advertisers and the employers of the children (in this context, the child’s parents), we acknowledge our responsibility regarding illegal content.
Meta has specially trained teams that review content and report apparent child sexual exploitation to NCMEC in compliance with applicable law. All violating content detected through Meta’s various detection methods, including photo- and video-matching technologies, is reported to NCMEC, who then works with the appropriate law enforcement authorities around the world. Meta also provides a dedicated Trusted Partners reporting channel for key international and non-governmental organisations to submit high quality reports, and a legal removal request form for EU users to report content that they believe violates local laws. In France, we work with key NGOs such as E-Enfance and Point de Contact.
Meta is currently taking part in a consultation process conducted by ARCOM to develop charters as set out by the law, which relate to user-facing information about sharing media containing children, including the potential impacts of that sharing and how to report potentially damaging content.
Creators are the heart of culture on Instagram and we are committed to helping them build sustainable businesses, whether they are aspiring, emerging, or established. Instagram started as an app for creatives to share photos but has evolved to become the place where creators can find their voice and tell their diverse stories in many different ways. This includes our core, free products which include: Reels, Stories, Feed, Live, and Direct Message.
Success looks different to every creator, and those who are just starting out might have different needs than those who are further along. We’re focused on offering multiple ways to monetize, so creators have options as they build long-term, sustainable businesses doing what they love. We think creators should be rewarded for their efforts in growing their audiences, and fairly compensated for the value they create for their communities. This includes through the following features:
Shops: We help businesses reach new and existing customers with personalised adverts, and our commerce tools such as Shops are an extension of that – it’s a seamless way for people and businesses to buy and sell through our apps. Our strategy since introducing Shops has been to make it as easy as possible for people to make a purchase after discovering a new brand or product. For creators who already have their own product lines, they can now set up a shop on their personal profile. This allows them to display and sell their products directly to fans. The ability to link a shop to a personal profile is available globally. More information about shops can be found here.
Branded Content: We define branded content as a creator or publisher's content that features or is influenced by a business partner for an exchange of value (for example, where the business partner has paid the creator or publisher). Branded content is different from ads - we don’t receive any money for branded content posts and these posts show up in Feed for users following these accounts. If branded content is boosted with ad spend, it will then appear in the Ad library and be subject to our advertising policies. To help creators and brands to be transparent about their commercial arrangements we have developed Branded Content tools (Paid Partnership With…) that we require influencers and brands to use under our policies when there's an exchange of value. Creators can now add participating brands they’re interested in working with to their preferred brands list, giving them priority when brands are searching for creators. We are also introducing a new folder within Instagram DMs exclusively for “partnership messages,” where brands and creators can easily find and manage their branded content partnerships. Brands can now use data and unique filters to discover and select the best creators for their campaigns. Then, they can organize shortlists to easily manage multiple campaigns.
Affiliate: With affiliate, creators can discover new products available on checkout, share them with their followers and earn commissions for the purchases they drive — all within the Instagram app. Affiliate makes it easier for people to shop directly from the creators they love and give brands a new way to partner with and reward creators who share their products. Creators receive commission payments based on the total sales they drive for a brand and we do not currently take a revenue share. They can see a brand's commission rate within the app and track their performance in the Insights tab.
Subscriptions: Instagram Subscriptions allows creators to earn a recurring, monthly income on Instagram. Instagram does not currently take revenue from Subscriptions. To help more creators make a living on our platforms, we're going to keep paid online events, subscriptions, badges, and our upcoming independent news products free for creators until later in 2023. And when we do introduce a revenue share, it will be less than the 30% other platforms take. Currently testing with a handful of US-based creators (with plans to expand to more over time) Subscriptions allows creators in the program to set a monthly price of their choice, unlock a “subscribe” button on their profile and offer the following benefits to their subscribers:
Badges in Live: Badges in Live gives fans another way to participate and show their love, through Badges that viewers can purchase during a live video. Badges appear next to a person’s name throughout the live video and are available for $.99, $1.99 or $4.99. As above we do not currently take revenue from badges. Fans who have purchased badges in Live will stand out in the comments and unlock additional features, including placement on a creator's list of badge holders and access to a special heart.
Bonuses: Bonuses reward a wide variety of creators for sharing great content that people enjoy. We want to reward creators, especially those who are just starting out, for creating content their communities love. By the end of 2022, we plan to invest over $1 billion in programs that give creators new ways to earn money for the content they create on Facebook and Instagram. This investment will include new bonus programs that pay eligible creators for hitting certain milestones when they use our creative and monetization tools. We’ll also provide seed funding for creators to produce their content. Our goal is to help as many creators as possible find sustainable, long-term success on our apps.
That said, we know some public figures can be subjected to significant levels of abuse online and we have taken a number of steps to address that. For example, we have long removed violent threats against public figures, as well as attacks based on their protected characteristic (e.g. sex, sexual orientation, religion, race), and different forms of harassment. But we’ve also tried to strike the balance between protecting public figures, and allowing criticism of people with a large platform and who choose to be in the public eye. Following consultation with public figures, journalists and policymakers we recently expanded our bullying and harassment policies to better protect public figures, and will now remove degrading or sexualized attacks, unwanted sexualized commentary and repeated content which is sexually harassing.
During the last year, we launched several new safety features designed to protect everyone from unwanted contact and abuse happening in the first place. A number of these are particularly relevant for Creators, and we consulted with people as we developed and rolled out these features. This includes:
With regards to the support we provide for Creators, the tools are designed to be easy to use, but we have been working more and more on how to communicate and suggest their use in a way which works for Creators. For example, starting last year, when you create a Professional account on Instagram, we will now suggest that you turn on features like Hidden Words. Last month, we started prompting people to turn on Limits if we detect that they may be experiencing a spike in potentially offensive comments, which we committed to doingwhen we first launched the Limits feature last year.
Last year we also made several changes to make it easier to know what's going on with your account, in a new tool called "Account Status". This is a one-stop shop to see what’s happening with your account and content distribution. In Account Status you can:
In the coming months, we plan to add more information to Account Status, giving people a better sense of how their content is being distributed and recommended across different parts of Instagram. Further information here.
More broadly, we have a Partnerships team who are dedicated to working hand-in-hand with Creators to ensure they get the most out of Instagram. We engage with creators directly on @creators, and hosted our first annual Creator Week to reach even more aspiring creators around the world with best practices, product news, and tips & tricks. In addition, we also partner with and participate in a number of partnerships, organisations and educational events such as VidCon and Social in the City to cover education at scale outside of our network. The Partnership team focuses on providing 1:1 support for creators with large followings, education sessions with creator agencies and also has a separate team dedicated to supporting smaller, up and coming creators. We also use these workstreams to gather extensive creator feedback to help improve our products and services across the platform. We also leverage our various Instagram social channels to support and amplify the amazing ways that creators are connecting with their communities, including:
As part of our effort to support a broader group of people, we've begun a small test to provide support through live chat for English-speaking creators in the US who do not already have an assigned relationship manager from Meta. This is just a small test for now, and as we expand, creators will receive an invitation on Facebook or Instagram to join the test and explore the new support experience. On the Facebook app specifically, we've also started testing live chat help for some English-speaking users globally, including creators who've been locked out of their accounts. This first test focuses on those who cannot access their accounts due to unusual activity or whose accounts have been suspended due to a violation of Community Standards. We're also piloting Safety School – a trust- and safety-focused webinar, where we are sharing some of the ways that Meta is working to keep our platforms safe and secure for creators. So far, we've connected with creators in more than 27 countries around this material, and we will be expanding this programme and resources to more creators in the next year.
Finally, we recognise that abuse of MPs remains an unacceptable feature of modern societies and is having a deeply sinister impact on our political culture, which often deters people from running for public office. This is something that we sadly see both offline and online, and at Meta we are committed to playing our part in addressing such behaviour. We support MPs by working closely with Parliamentary Liaison and Investigations team and Parliamentary Security Services, and have a dedicated team to do this. We also have a dedicated reporting service for MPs who encounter abuse.
We are proud of the diversity of our community on Instagram; our app allows people to explore their identities, find support and build community. To an extent Creators will reflect some of what we see in society more broadly, although we find that Creators themselves are driving cultural change. 80% of Creators want to work with brands who are actively and publicly supporting diversity and inclusion and 60% of Creators want the brands they work with to allow them to incorporate D&I themes in sponsored content.
Last summer we launched the “Facebook Diverse Voices programme". The Diverse Voices programme supported creators from underrepresented communities from countries across EMEA. We offered creators the opportunity to scale their creativity with access to resources and support to grow their community, building a unique presence across our family of apps. Creators who were part of the programme received:
In November we also announced the recipients of our inaugural #BlackDesignVisionaries grant program. In partnership with the Brooklyn Museum, #BlackDesignVisionaries aims to uplift, center and invest in rising Black designers and Black-led design businesses who offer experimental expressions of Black culture and have a powerful vision for the future. In addition to the grant money, each recipient will be connected with a team of mentors.
These programs followed a much broader set of commitments to supporting black and diverse communities which we made in 2020. This included:
Last week, we also announced that throughout Black history month we’re elevating Black voices and sharing ways you can support the Black community. This includes: exclusive content on the Facebook Lift Black Voices hub; on Instagram, we’re asking our community to celebrate and explore Black joy with #ShareBlackStories; and a new video series and Reels challenge on Instagram and Facebook, will feature conversations between public figures and their family. We have launched campaigns and activations to support diverse voices from (and not limited to) the Black, API, LGBTQ+, Latinx and Indigenous communities.
We have been clear that diversity in leadership positions and across the company is a priority for Meta. Connecting the world takes people with different backgrounds and points of view to build products that work better for everyone. This means building a workforce that reflects the diversity of the people we serve, including people’s lived experiences. To build products, develop policies, and best serve people in our global community, we must apply diverse perspectives to everything we do. We leverage the diversity of the people who work at Facebook to provide strategic input on our products, policies, programs, and practices and apply these learnings to build for all.
In order to achieve this we created Inclusive Product Councils that offer diverse perspectives and feedback to product teams across the company based on lived experiences. Input from an Inclusive Product Council reduces the risk of harm and helps our teams consider how a product may impact a diverse range of communities and people. Participation in an Inclusive Product Council is encouraged and recognised in our performance evaluation process. When it comes to ensuring fairness in AI more broadly, we believe AI can work well for everyone, and we’ve outlined in detail here and here how we are tackling some of the hard problems to help get there. This includes further information on our interdisciplinary Responsible AI team and ‘Fairness Flow’, our technical toolkit that enables our teams to analyse how some types of AI models and labels perform across different groups.
Since 2014, we’ve also publicly reported Facebook’s diversity metrics and shared our plans to better support communities of color, women, members of the LGBTQ+ community and others. And over the past two years, we set three goals to increase representation in our workforce over five years:
Our progress against these goals and our latest diversity report can be found here. It shows that over the last year, we’ve seen growth in underrepresented communities at Facebook and today, more than 21% of our non-technical employees identify as Black or Hispanic. We’re also pleased to report that we had our most diverse intern class ever in 2021, with 44.0% women globally and 20.4% from underrepresented minority communities in the US (Black and Latinx). This year, 4.7% of our US-based employees identify as people with disabilities, and 2.4% identify as veterans. Our LGBTQ+ community makes up 10.6% of our US-based workforce.
On the third goal we’re pleased that in just one year we achieved a 38.2% increase in Black leaders due to strong recruiting and increased focus on retaining top talent across the company. As the company grows, we’ll work to maintain this representation of Black employees in leadership. Further detail on the representation of our leadership team can be found in our latest report. We will also continue striving for an overall 30% increase in representation of people of color in the US, including Asian and Hispanic people, in leadership roles.
More broadly when it comes to company leadership, Maxine Williams, our Chief Diversity Officer, reports into Sheryl Sandberg our COO and forms part of our leadership conversations and decisions. And her role means we are placing a structural focus on more inclusive products and policies and elevating diversity and inclusion in all management team discussions. Last year we also appointed Roy L. Austin, Jr., a renowned civil rights attorney and advocate, as VP of Civil Rights and Deputy General Counsel in order to establish the company’s new civil rights organisation.
Finally, we are committed to supporting the next generation of talent. We’ve continued to invest in education programs designed to increase access to STEM and computer science training for women, Black and Latinx people. This year, we’re expanding our co-teaching AI program that started as a pilot in 2020 with Georgia Tech. Together with the university, we built a deep-learning curriculum that professors at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic-Serving Institutions will adopt. Our goal is to enable more students from underrepresented minority communities to be trained in AI. We recently announced a new Summer News Fellowship for undergraduate students and recent graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. This program will elevate emerging Black talent and future media professionals by pairing them with established national and local news organisations.
These are in addition to existing partnerships and programs we have with CodePath.org, Align, TechPrep and other organisations dedicated to levelling the playing field. These programs help underrepresented minority students who face disproportionate challenges gain equitable access and opportunity to pursue degrees, and eventually careers, in computer science.
UK and Northern Europe Public Policy Lead