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    Ravi Shankar Prasad writes to Zuckerberg; condemns internal ideology war at Facebook

    Synopsis

    The letter sent on September 1 and reviewed by ET has also said that before the run-up to the 2019 General Elections, there was a concerted effort by Facebook India management to not just delete pages or substantially reduce their reach but also offer no recourse or right of appeal to affected people who are supportive of the "right-of-centre ideology."

    Ravi Shankar Prasad writes to Mark Zuckerberg, accuses Facebook of bias amid row over content
    New Delhi: Union IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has shot off a terse letter to Facebook founder and chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg calling for "country specific Community Guidelines" which will "respect the social, religions, cultural and linguistic diversity of India."

    Currently, Facebook employs their own Community Standard guidelines to moderate content in India, including hate speech and follow global standards set out by their parent company.

    ET had reported on Tuesday, that officials have started deliberations that whether social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter should be allowed to have the power to censor or moderate content as per their own guidelines in the country.



    The letter sent on September 1 and reviewed by ET has also said that before the run-up to the 2019 General Elections, there was a concerted effort by Facebook India management to not just delete pages or substantially reduce their reach but also offer no recourse or right of appeal to affected people who are supportive of the "right-of-centre ideology."

    He said that dozens of emails written to Facebook management received no response and cases of bias and inaction are a direct outcome of the dominant political beliefs of individuals in the Facebook India team.

    "As a transnational digital platform, Facebook must not only be fair and neutral, but also visibly seen to be so, to users of diverse beliefs and ideologies. Individuals working in any organization may have their individual likes or dislikes, but that must not have any bearing on the public policies and performance of the organization."

    He has also condemned selective leaks to the international media which raise allegations of the social media giant and its policy team led by Ankhi Das favoured the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party political brass. He says that the leaks are a result of internal ideology war in Facebook.

    Last week, a Wall Street Journal article alleged that Facebook had shown favouritism to the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) by not acting on hate speech posts by its leaders.

    As a political slugfest has erupted over the current issue, Amit Malviya, national head, information and technology for BJP told ET last week that in the run up to the 2019 general elections, Facebook unilaterally struck off over 700 pages without assigning “any reason”.

    "This debate around hate speech is skewed because what constitutes hate speech or otherwise will be determined by India's rules and regulations and constitutional frameworks and not by community standards of a particular social media platform. It also needs to apply uniformly," he had said.

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    2 Comments on this Story

    Tapas Dutt87 days ago
    You dispute any comments even on Quora favouring ruling party, you will be facing raw abuses.
    Its reaction to salvaging situation where identity and ideological trend of top officers in FB and their internal actions have been exposed. FB and WA has faced complaints of allowing misuse the platforms many a times.
    Hari Madathil88 days ago
    How come the Minister and their Govt along with the Party, which is most vocal on Social media, making such allegations to this platform. IT's an open fact and known to every one that his party is making maximum use of SM and other platforms and spending lot on these. when the issue of partisan attitude came up they wants to counter it and sabotage the Standing committee investigation. where were you all these times, only woke up when an investigation is started ?
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