Facebook’s lack of control on fake news, hate messages lighting the matchstick

Facebook riots
While Facebook has bowed down to governments in other countries after causing violence and riots, its content moderation is yet to raise alarm in India | Image - Eunice Dhivya

What’s in common with the Bangalore riots in August, Delhi riots in February, violent anti-CAA protests in Assam (2019), Kasganj violence in Uttar Pradesh (2018), Muzaffarnagar riots in Uttar Pradesh (2013 and 2017), Basirhat or Baduria riots in West Bengal (2017)?

All these played out on social media and fanned by violent, hate-mongering and communally insensitive posts on social media platforms, particularly on Facebook. WhatsApp, the messaging platform owned by Facebook, added to the woes by not doing enough to spread the hate content and mobilising violent mobs during the riots.

With social media companies having strict guidelines on what can be posted on their platforms, one would expect that hate messages and objectionable posts would invite quick action.

But a recent Wall Street Journal report, quoting current and former Facebook employees, said the company went soft on Hindutva elements and ruling BJP members over their controversial posts, which if curbed could have helped control the violence.

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