‘Facebook in India controlled by BJP ruling party’ report sparks calls for probe
A startling revelation has been made in a report of the Wall Street Journal that social media giant Facebook ignores cases of hate speech and unacceptable content from leaders and workers of the ruling BJP for fear of provoke the Modi government in India.
India’s opposition Congress party has now called for a parliamentary panel to inquire what it has described as appreciative treatment by Facebook’s India team towards the governing Hindu extremist party.
On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that a senior Facebook executive, who supervise operations of in India, had blocked action against leaders associated with the BJP and other Hindutva groups. Facebook’s top public policy executive in India “opposed applying hate-speech rules” to at least four individuals and groups linked with the BJP despite the fact that they were “flagged internally for promoting or participating in violence.”
Facebook India’s Public Policy Director Ankhi Das told staff members that “punishing violations” by BJP politicians “would damage the company’s business prospects in the country, Facebook’s biggest global market by number of users,” WSJ reported. Many have accused Das of being a member the Narendra Modi fan club.
Referring to hate-speech — calling for violence against minorities — allegedly by Telangana BJP MLA T Raja Singh, the report cited “current and former” Facebook employees as saying that Das’s intervention is part of a “broader pattern of favouritism” by the company towards the ruling party. The WSJ report said that internal Facebook staff concluded that the MLA should be banned from the platform under a policy called “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations”.
Finally, the American media has come out with the truth about Facebook. Reacting to the WSJ report Rahul Gandhi Sunday claimed that the saffron party controls the social networking site, along with WhatsApp, and uses it to spread fake news in order to control the electorate. “BJP and RSS control Facebook and WhatsApp in India. 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,” Gandhi tweeted.
According to the report, Facebook deleted some of Singh’s posts after a query from WSJ, and said that he was no longer allowed to have an official account. Facebook was also accused to have favoured the BJP during the 2019 elections. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted, “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.”