Updated: September 3, 2020 5:11:55 pm
Facing severe criticism from Opposition parties for its alleged bias over handling of hate speech content, Facebook on Thursday banned Telangana MLA T Raja Singh from its platform and Instagram for violating its policy on content promoting violence and hate even though the BJP leader claimed he had no account with the networking site
for over a year.
“We have banned Raja Singh from Facebook for violating our policy prohibiting those that promote or engage in violence and hate from having a presence on our platform,” a Facebook spokesperson said in an emailed statement. The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to remove his account, the statement added.
In a video message, Raja Singh claimed he did not have a Facebook account since April 2019 and that the pages the social networking site now banned might have been created by his followers.
“So, Since April 2019, I’m not on Facebook itself, so no question of banning (me). Is Facebook working under the pressure of Congress,” Singh said. Singh said he had written a letter to Hyderabad Police Cyber Crime department on October 8, 2018 that his official Facebook verified page was hacked. He again started a new page that “was unpublished/deleted in April 2019.”
The MLA also claimed that leaders like Rahul Gandhi made ‘false’ statements against the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi using social media platforms and demanded that accounts of Congress and AIMIM should be deleted from social networking sites after research.
In a report that brewed up a massive political storm, The Wall Street Journal said Facebook’s top public policy executive in India cited government-business relations to not apply hate-speech rules to at least four individuals and groups linked with the BJP, ignoring the fact that they were “flagged internally for promoting or participating in violence.”
Referring to the hate speech by Singh, in which he allegedly called for violence against minorities, the report cited “current and former” Facebook employees as saying that the top executive’s intervention is part of a “broader pattern of favouritism” by the company towards the ruling party.
The WSJ report said that internal Facebook staff concluded that the MLA should be banned from the platform under a policy called “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations”. The report has triggered a war of words between the ruling BJP and Congress over the social media giant’s alleged bias.
A Parliamentary panel also summoned Facebook representatives to discuss the issue of alleged misuse of the social media platform on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad wrote to Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, accusing the social media platform’s employees of supporting people from a political predisposition that lost successive elections, and “abusing” the Prime Minister and senior cabinet ministers.
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