Social media giant Facebook has written to Congress and assured the grand old party that it will continue to remove hateful content by public figures in India on its platform. It was responding to a letter from the Congress last month about its alleged nexus with the Bharatiya Janata Party and its inaction on hate posts. In its letter, Facebook stated that it had removed 22.5 million pieces of hate speech content from April-June in 2020 which is up from 1.6 million pieces of hate speech content removed in the last quarter of 2017.
The Congress had written to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg after reports by the Wall Street Journal and the Time magazine about the conduct of Facebook and WhatsApp India’s leadership team flagged bias and proximity with the ruling BJP.
“We removed 22.5 million pieces of hate speech content from April-June in 2020, up from 1.6 million pieces of hate speech content removed in the last quarter of 2017. We know there is much more to do and will continue to invest our efforts to combat hate speech on our services,” Facebook said in its letter addressed to Congress.
Addressing the concerns expressed by the party, the social media giant said, “In the last interaction with you and other esteemed members of your party, we described our Community Standards–our policies on what is and isn’t allowed on Facebook–and shared the steps we have taken on our platforms in the wake of COVID-19.”
“On the question of hateful content by public figures, we want to assure you that our Community Standards prohibit attacks against people based on their protected characteristics, including religion, caste, ethnicity, and national origin. In line with our hate speech policy, we have removed and will continue to remove hateful content by public figures in India on our platforms,” it added.
All India Congress Committee acknowledged Facebook’s response and expected that strict action will be taken against hate speech content on the platform by removing it.
“We have today received a response from Facebook Inc. Facebook has thanked the Congress party for raising this concern and acknowledged its seriousness while not refuting any of the charges made against individuals of the Facebook India leadership team in the media articles. They have also expressed their desire to be non-partisan and continue to engage with the Congress party on these matters,” read a statement issued by Praveen Chakravarty, Chairman, AICC Data Analytics.
Earlier, the Congress had demanded a joint parliamentary party (JPC) probe into Facebook India’s role in interfering with the country’s democratic process and a criminal investigation against Facebook India’s leadership.
(With inputs from agencies)