New Study: Key Meta System for Reporting Harmful Content Has Serious Flaws

More investment needed to improve safety and security

WASHINGTON, DC & LONDON – A new report on the effectiveness of Meta’s Trusted Partner program – a critical tool for keeping Meta’s products safe and protecting users from harm – finds the program to be significantly under-resourced and understaffed.  

The report, Safety at Stake: How to Save Meta’s Trusted Partner Program, is based on dozens of interviews with some of Meta’s closest partners and documents Meta’s neglect of this flagship initiative. The new research found that many of the most severe operational failures of the Trusted Partner program appear to relate directly to a lack of resourcing and are further exacerbated by recent layoffs at Meta.  

“Trusted flagger programs are vital to user safety, but Meta’s partners are deeply frustrated with how the program has been run. As Meta launches Threads to be a ‘public square for communities,’ can we trust the company to operate it responsibly? This research suggests more investment is needed to ensure Meta’s platforms are safe for users,” said Rafiq Copeland, Platform Accountability Advisor at Internews and author of the report. 

Key findings from the report include: 

  • While currently functioning as an emergency channel, the Trusted Partner program is not designed or resourced as one. 
  • Trusted Partners often wait weeks or months for responses to their reports, even on issues relating to imminent harm. 
  • 1,000 Trusted Partner reports are submitted per month (roughly 33 per day), but the number of Meta staff working full-time on the program remains unclear. 

The report recommends that Meta strengthen the program by staffing it adequately, making a public commitment to improve it, and sharing a plan and timeline with current Trusted Partners. 

We and other Trusted Partners stand ready to work productively with Meta to address the issues raised in this review,” said Copeland. “It is our hope that this program and others like it can be reinvigorated. People’s lives depend on it.” 

For further information, please contact [email protected] 

About Internews  

Internews is a nonprofit that supports independent media in 100 countries. Internews trains journalists and digital rights practitioners, tackles disinformation, and offers business expertise to help media outlets thrive financially. For 40 years, it has helped partners reach millions of people with trustworthy information that saves lives, improves livelihoods, and holds institutions accountable.