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Facebook undermining India’s democracy, alleges Congress

The Congress on Monday said Facebook was “compromising” India’s democracy and influencing elections, and demanded a probe by a joint parliamentary committee.

“.@washingtonpost investigation shows BJP, RSS and its acolytes deploy hate speech on Facebook and WhatsApp. While it’s obvious Govt of India won’t do anything about it, it’s unacceptable that @Facebook has one set of standards for USA and another for India,” stated former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh in a tweet.

Using the hash tag BJPRSSfakebook, Congress general secretary (organisation) K.C. Venugopal tweeted, “Facebook has become a tool for BJP to spread misinformation & hate speech. Millions of Indians are active on the platform & are regularly being subjected to hateful content. Our democracy is being influenced by a foreign company”.

Also Read: Facebook denies report that its AI fails to detect hate speech

Raising media reports on Facebook’s leaked internal documents, which claimed that the social media company didn’t filter hate speech posts in India, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera alleged, “Facebook has reduced itself to a Fakebook”.

‘Acting as an ally of BJP’

He accused Facebook of acting as an ally of the ruling BJP and pushing its agenda. He cited documents released by whistle-blower Frances Haugen, who worked at Facebook, to argue that the company took no decisive action against the perpetrators of hate posts in Hindi and Bengali.

“What right does Facebook have to push a particular ideology through fake posts, pictures and a narrative. It is shocking how only 0.2 per cent of hate speech is removed by Facebook, which despite making the most money from India, does not have the mechanism to filter posts in Hindi or Bengali,” he noted at a press conference.

Facebook’s role in the Delhi riots and West Bengal elections were under the scanner, he observed. “The role of Facebook can no longer be dismissed as an error of omission as they are knowingly furthering the agenda of the ruling party and its ideology which is hate-filled, bigotry and dividing society. We demand a JPC [joint parliamentary committee] probe to look into the role of Facebook in influencing our elections.”

Alleged infiltration

Mr. Khera claimed that BJP workers and those of its affiliates have ‘infiltrated into the structure and functioning of Facebook’ and it reflected in the fact that though internal reports identified fake accounts with over a million impressions no action was taken.

“Despite knowing all of this, why hasn’t Facebook designated the RSS and Bajrang Dal as ‘dangerous organisations’ based on its own internal reports? “While the Government of India had been extremely proactive against Twitter, citing social media safety compliance, why are they not uttering a word now,” he asked.

He further claimed that though Facebook’s safety team had flagged issues concerning the company’s security team went against the recommendations and chose to prioritise commercial interests over the safety of Indian citizens. “Doesn’t this clearly implicate the presence of a ‘quid pro quo’?”, he remarked.


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Printable version | Nov 28, 2021 2:11:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/facebook-undermining-indias-democracy-alleges-congress/article37163829.ece

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