Extremism

‘Policies not in favour of anyone’, says Facebook after India policy executive ‘intervenes on communal posts’ of BJP leader

Srinagar: A day after senior India policy executive for social media giant Facebook, Ankhi Das, allegedly “intervened” in internal content review processes to stop a ban on BJP’s Telangana MLA T Raja Singh for communal posts targeting Muslims, the Facebook company spokesperson has said that its policies are not in favour of anyone.

The spokesperson, according to a report by a news agency ANI, said that it enforces policies globally without regard to anyone’s political position or party affiliation.

Quoting officials, the report said that company is making progress on enforcing and conducting regular audits of its processes to ensure fairness and accuracy.

On August 14, a report by an international newspaper The Wall Street Journal cited interviews with unnamed Facebook insiders claiming that the company’s senior India policy executive Ankhi Das “intervened” in internal content review processes to stop a ban on BJP’s Telangana MLA T Raja Singh, who made “communally charged” posts targeting the Muslim community.

Das, according to the report, has told her staff members that punishing violations by politicians from Modi’s party would damage the company’s business prospects in the country. In this regard, the spokesperson said that company was “still reviewing” whether it had to act against the BJP leader or take any other step.

A day before, taking a dig at the remark by BJP’s Telangana MLA, the former president of Indian National Congress and leader of the opposition, Rahul Gandhi said that BJP leader is “spreading hate and use it to influence the electorate.”

In a tweet, Gandhi said: “they spread fake news and hatred through it and use it to influence the electorate. Finally, the American media has come out with the truth about Facebook”.

In another tweet, he said: “BJP-RSS controls Facebook and WhatsApp in India. Through this, they lure voters by spreading false news and hate. After all, the American media has exposed the truth of Facebook.”

Senior Congress leader and Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor tweeted out saying; “The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology would certainly wish to hear from @Facebook about these reports & what they propose to do about hate-speech in India”.

Besides the duo, Congress leaders Ajay Maken, Praveen Chakravarty and Rohan Gupta, also demanded the creation of a Joint Parliamentary Committee to look into the matter.

Soon after the tweets from Congress leaders, BJP minister Ravi Shankar Prasad slammed Gandhi and replied to his tweet saying; “Losers who cannot influence people even in their own party keep cribbing that the entire world is controlled by BJP & RSS. You were caught red-handed in alliance with Cambridge Analytica & Facebook to weaponise data before the elections & now have the gall to question us?”

This comes a day after Gandhi said that the BJP and its ideological parent the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) control Facebook and WhatsApp in India.

 

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