FACEBOOK on Monday removed a caution of misinformation it had put on a video posted three days ago by Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, in which he had claimed that supporters of Lok Sabha MP Badruddin Ajmal allegedly shouted ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogans while receiving him at an airport.
Facebook had retained the video but had flagged it as false information.
AIUDF has maintained that the supporters raised the slogan “Aziz Khan Zindabad” – for the party MLA from Karimganj South constituency who was also present there.
A Facebook spokesperson told The Indian Express that it exempts politicians from its third party fact-checking programme, and that the tag was erroneously put on Sarma’s post.
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On November 6, Sarma posted the video and wrote: “Look at the brazenness of these fundamentalists anti-national people who are shouting PAKISTAN ZINDABAD while they welcome MP Badruddin Ajmal. This thoroughly exposes Indian National Congress which is encouraging such forces by forging an alliance…”
Fact-checking websites such as AltNews and BOOM Live soon reported that pro-Pakistan slogans were not raised. Later, a caution was put on the video by Facebook: “False information. Checked by independent fact-checkers.”
The police in Assam’s Cachar district, where the incident took place, had registered a case against alleged slogans in the video.
On Monday, Opposition Congress lodged an FIR in Guwahati against Sarma. In the FIR, state Congress general secretary Ranjan Bora stated that the minister posted remarks on social media with an “intention to create religious tension between two communities through a misleading statement and false Facebook post”.
A Facebook spokesperson said: “We rely on third-party fact-checkers to help reduce spread of false news and other viral misinformation like memes or manipulated photos and videos. Facebook exempts politicians from our third-party fact-checking. A fact-checking rating was applied in error on this post and has been removed.”
The AIUDF and the Congress have announced an alliance to fight the upcoming Assam elections early next year.
On Monday, Sarma tweeted, “Video is a genuine one and not doctored. Good that the video is restored.”
Ajmal had earlier told the media, “Aziz Khan’s supporters shouted slogans in his support. The BJP and Himanta Biswa Sarma manipulated it and said the slogans were ‘Pakistan Zindabad’.”
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