Health and Fitness

Congress seeks JPC probe against FB after hate speech revelations

The Congress Monday revived its demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe against Facebook following the revelation that the social media giant failed to curb hate speech, misinformation and inflammatory posts in India despite being aware of it.
The main Opposition party, which had a run-in with Facebook earlier, again alleged a quid pro quo between the social media giant and the BJP government.

The Congress alleged that Facebook has reduced itself to “fakebook” in India, reiterated its charge that sympathisers of the BJP have “infiltrated” Facebook, and accused the social media giant of acting like an “ally”.

The Congress had last year demanded a JPC probe in the wake of media reports that the Facebook’s then top public policy executive in India, citing business reasons, didn’t apply “hate-speech rules” to at least four individuals and groups linked with the BJP who were “flagged internally for promoting or participating in violence”.

Addressing a press conference, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera alleged that the BJP is Facebook’s “all-weather ally”.
“Through the course of the 2019 elections, the brutal Delhi riots, Facebook knew very well that they weren’t equipped to filter hate speech especially in Hindi and Bengali as per the leaked research documents by a whistle-blower Frances Haugen, a 37-year-old engineer who worked at Facebook, and yet they took no decisive action the perpetrators of such hate,” Khera said.

“Their own internal reports have identified fake accounts with over a million impressions. Yet, “Fakebook” did nothing about it. With about 370 million users of the social media platform in India, in terms of user base India is Facebook’s largest market. Nonetheless, to sustain its business in India, the leaks have suggested that an internal assessment by Facebook suggested that only 0.2% of reported hate speech was being taken down, which shows that Facebook was and continues to be having damningly acute awareness about content against a particular section of Indian society and has consciously chosen not to act against it,” he added.

“The internal reports and recommendations of Facebook’s security team went against the recommendations of Facebook’s safety team; insofar as they prioritized commercial interests over safety of Indian Citizens, and yet no action has been taken by the Government, doesn’t this clearly implicate the presence of a ‘quid pro quo? We demand that a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe be ordered immediately,” he said.

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