Facebook selective in curbing hate speech and fake news in India?
The leaked documents accessed by the Associated Press allege that Facebook has been aware of the problems, including anti-Muslim content, for years and that the platform has struggled to quash abusive content in the world’s biggest democracy.
Facebook is once again making headlines in India after leaked documents obtained by an international news agency claimed that the American technology giant has been selective in curbing hate speech, inflammatory posts and fake news.
The leaked documents accessed by the Associated Press allege that Facebook has been aware of the problems, including anti-Muslim content, for years and that the platform has struggled to quash abusive content in the world’s biggest democracy. The leaked documents reportedly include company memos and internal assessments from 2019 to 2021.
The leaked documents allegedly punch holes into Facebook's claims that it has been actively engaged in cracking down on hate speech and misinformation in its largest growth market. In fact, internal memos allegedly reveal concerns expressed by Indian employees over the kind of inflammatory content being posted on the platform and reportedly over the manner in which the company handled the issues.
According to the news agency, the internal company reports reveal that in some cases, much of the hate speech and misinformation was allegedly amplified by the platform's 'recommended' feature and algorithms. The documents suggest that Facebook saw India as among the most at-risk nations in the world. The agency claimed that even though the platform identified Hindi and Bengali as priorities segments for tackling hate content and misinformation, it did not have enough local language moderators to prevent the spread of the posts that at times led to real-world violence.
When contacted, Facebook said that the amount of hate speech and misinformation people see in Hindi and Bangla has been slashed to half as the platform had on priority invested significantly on technology to trace and eliminate such posts. A Facebook spokesperson further said that the company is constantly updating its policies over hate speech online.