BRO0028

 

Supplementary written evidence submitted by Meta

 

Please find below Meta’s responses to the Committee’s additional questions following the evidence session on 10 May 2023.

 

(Q303) The figures in Meta (and within that Facebook and Instagram) working on monitoring and security, particularly focused on checking ID, removing inappropriate content etc. You said there were 40,000 working on this would be useful to confirm this and have clarity of the context what proportion of the total workforce, directly or indirectly, is this.

 

Around 40,000 people focus on safety and security efforts at Meta, from consulting on and building safety policies and tools, to responding to requests from law enforcement. Of this number, around half are directly involved in reviewing reports, which includes our global network of content reviewers. These content review teams include a mixture of full time employees, contractors, and outsourced support, who review content in 70 languages, and cover Instagram and Facebook..

 

However, it is important to stress that we currently find more than 90% of the violating posts that we remove using technology before anyone reports it to us. We remain focused on advancing our industry-leading integrity efforts and continue to invest in teams and technologies to protect our community. To date, we have invested more than

$16 billion since 2016, and we will continue to advance and prioritise this work.

 

This investment has allowed us to build industry-leading technologies that continue to play a central role in our content enforcement operations - specifically in proactively detecting harmful content; scaling the work of content reviewers by, for example, automating decisions for certain areas where content is highly likely to be violating; and prioritising content to be reviewed based on multiple factors such as virality, severity of harm and likelihood of violation.

 

(Q305) How was it determined that people with accounts on Facebook need to be 13 years of age to use it? Any data you have about the numbers of under-aged users identified and removed and how long they had been using the platform before being removed, which would therefore compare with TikTok, would also be useful please.

 

In helping to determine the right age, we looked to relevant experts and regulations to inform our age requirements. The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, for example, demonstrated a policy-based judgment by U.S. lawmakers that parental notice and consent is an appropriate requirement for children under 13, but not necessarily for teenagers. Under certain circumstances, UK law similarly requires parental consent for children under 13, but not above, and the UK's Age Appropriate Design Code distinguishes between younger children, early teens, and teens approaching adulthood, recognising that children at different ages and stages of development also have different needs.

 

As part of our continued work to keep our technologies age-appropriate, we refer to new external research, feedback from experts and academics, and our own understanding of how technologies are used, to inform changes we make.

 

(Q310 and Q321) Any additional data you can provide about typical Facebook users in Wales. Evidently the questions were in terms of the demographics (e.g. age) and habits of users. For example, the numbers that have put their Facebook into the Welsh language, numbers whose local news section of Facebook News receive Welsh publications (e.g. Wales Online etc)? If this information is not available, it would be helpful to know why, given the sizeable about of data your company, and other social media companies do often collect.

 

Unfortunately, we are unable to share specific numbers relating to people who use Facebook in Wales. However, this does not mean Facebook and other Meta platforms are unable to use data to help support the growth of the Welsh language and Welsh-specific publications. As described by Megan Thomas during the committee hearing, we offer people the ability to change their Facebook language into Welsh.

 

On Facebook News, we have a local news section which means people will be served local news based on the location profile they have set, this would allow a Wales-based user to gain access to Welsh news.

 

We also support a range of local Welsh media companies including Wales Online through webinars and access to support via our media support portal. We’ve been running the Community News Project for the last 5 years to support budding local journalists, which we’ve invested £12m to date. As part of the scheme, we have several Welsh based publications taking part, and at present seven journalists based in Wales, including one specifically focused on Welsh speaking communities. This includes Tindle at Aberystwyth with a focus on Welsh-speaking communities and the Caerphilly Observer.

 

 

30 June 2023