WASHINGTON, DC — The Global Network Initiative (GNI) is pleased to announce that Facebook is the first company to gain observer status with GNI. Observer status is an opportunity for companies who are actively considering joining GNI to examine the initiative’s programs as well as its principles on free expression and privacy.

“We created observer status after listening to companies who wanted to learn more about how GNI’s participants work together in support of free expression and privacy rights before committing to membership, and we welcome Facebook’s involvement,” said GNI Executive Director Susan Morgan. “Given Facebook’s influence in the industry and its importance to a growing global user base, we look forward to collaborating with them on the issues they are facing around the world.”

“We’re delighted to serve as an observer with the Global Network Initiative and work with GNI and its members to promote a free and open Internet,” said Facebook VP for Global Public Policy Marne Levine. “Building a better understanding of the value of the open Internet, and its direct impact on job creation, education, and good governance, is critical, and precisely where the work of GNI can be useful.”

As an observer, Facebook will participate in dedicated policy and learning sessions organized by GNI, and engage with current GNI participants and staff. Unlike GNI’s member companies, observers have not formally committed to the GNI Principles and Implementation Guidelines, and do not participate in GNI’s independent assessment process.

“This is an important step for Facebook, and we welcome the opportunity to work with them towards the goal of becoming full GNI members,” said Arvind Ganesan, Director of Business and Human Rights at Human Rights Watch and GNI Board member. “Observer status is an opportunity for GNI to learn and listen to the ICT industry and is a pathway for companies to full membership in GNI and the accountable human rights mechanisms that are part of it.”

The observer status lasts for one non-renewable twelve-month term. Learn more about membership and observer status with the GNI here.

Visit the GNI on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GlobalNetworkInitiative.

David Sullivan, GNI, [email protected], +1-202-407-8831
Andrew Noyes, Facebook, [email protected], +1-202-370-5118