Big tech companies talk a good game about privacy and freedom of expression, but their policies and practices undermine it, with even Apple – the self-proclaimed privacy champion – found wanting.
So says a new study by the Atlas VPN team, which perhaps surprisingly rates Twitter as the best tech giant for its policies and practices affecting people’s rights to freedom of expression and privacy.
Meanwhile, Amazon and Tencent got the worst ratings for their actions on people’s digital rights. Sadly, however, not a single company earned a “pass” grade.
The data is based on the Ranking Digital Rights (RDR). The organisation evaluates companies on 58 indicators in three categories: governance, freedom of expression and information, and privacy.
Twitter (currently X) received the best score of 56% on practices and policies it has on governance, freedom of expression, and privacy. The company took the top spot for its detailed content policies and public data about moderation of user-generated content.
Yahoo got 54% on the digital rights scorecard, while Microsoft received 50% on its practices and policies around digital rights; Microsoft lacks comprehensive policies protecting freedom of expression.
Google scored 47%, but its score declined for the second straight year due to outdated policies. Meta got 46% despite releasing a new human rights policy. Apple (pictured), which often boasts about its privacy commitments, scored 44%.
Even worse, Amazon and Tencent scored just 25% due to significant shortcomings in policies and practices affecting digital rights.
Atlas VPN cybersecurity writer Vilius Kardelis said: “Big tech’s relentless data collection and algorithms working without oversight threaten privacy and freedom of expression.
“Individuals should educate themselves, minimise data sharing, and use privacy tools to take more control of their digital rights in their own hands.”
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