Don’t disrespect freedom of expression

16 Freedom of expression

Freedom of expression and privacy are at the heart of our business. We protect and support the rights of all our customers to exchange ideas and promote the development of more open societies.

Three key things

1

We respect and promote the freedom of expression and privacy of users

2

Avoid and mitigate any potential negative impacts on risks to the freedom of expression and privacy of users

3

Support the rights of users in relation to new rules that may negatively impact individuals’ freedom of expression and privacy

Definitions

Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right derived from the inherent dignity of all persons.

Do the right thing

We respect and promote international standards on human rights, including our customers’ right to freedom of expression and privacy.

This means we always:

  • Raise concerns about new legislative, administrative, license or law enforcement rules we are required to follow if we think it may negatively impact users’ freedom of expression and privacy
  • Protect, promote and support freedom of expression and privacy through responsible decision-making and are as transparent as possible regarding the extent of government surveillance and restrictions on communications

We’ve implemented a point of challenge to ensure we carefully assess unconventional requests and demands from governments that may affect the freedom of expression of our customers. We comply only as far as necessary, no further.

We don’t get involved in the politics of the countries in which we operate but our management does pursue public advocacy based on the policy, arguing for clear and transparent legislation. We also build dialogue with governments and other stakeholders around regulations that affect our business and the rights of our customers.

To promote everyone’s right to freedom of expression and privacy, always:

  • Anticipate, avoid and mitigate risks to the freedom of expression of users
  • Defend the universal right to seek, receive and share information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers
  • Assess and escalate unconventional requests and demands that might have serious impacts on freedom of expression and privacy, so we can interpret the request as narrowly as possible and apply an appropriate point-of-challenge

In practice

Here are some practical ways in which we promote freedom of expression and privacy:

  • Our networks and services help facilitate freedom of expression
  • Our CEO has published a strong public commitment to respect and support freedom of expression
  • We’ve teamed up with competitors to use our work to promote freedom of expression
  • We publish Law Enforcement Disclosure Reports, allowing stakeholders to increase their knowledge and understanding, and encouraging greater transparency

Find out more

For more information, see our Freedom of Expression Policy.

We also have a tool that we use to assess and escalate any government requests or demands that have potential serious impacts on our customers’ freedom of expression and privacy.

Well done reading that