Tech giants: human rights risks and frameworks

Claire Methven O'Brien, Rikke Frank Jørgensen, Benn Finlay Hogan

Research output: Working paper/PreprintWorking paper


The services and platforms of tech giants are embedded in the lives of billions of people. Concern at tech giants’ negative human rights impacts is growing and society’s trust in them is being corroded. Jeopardising tech giants’ social license to operate, this also carries significant business and investment risks. This paper maps relevant international human rights standards which pertain to tech giants' wide-ranging impacts on human rights. Besides workforce and other supply chain issues, major impacts are those linked to: the gathering, use and commercialisation of personal data; freedom of expression; facilitating the spread of hate speech, misinformation, political extremism, terrorism, electoral manipulation and the suppression of democratic dissent; the impacts of content moderation and encryption; discrimination and other human rights abuses resulting from algorithmic bias; and impacts on at-risk groups including children and human rights defenders.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherSocial Science Research Network
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2020


  • International human rights law


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