Amid political row, Facebook India MD reiterates they are ‘transparent, open and non-partisan’

In the middle of the ongoing hate speech row which has triggered a massive political slugfest between the Congress and BJP following an article in US-based Wall Street Journal suggesting Facebook is biased towards the ruling party, Facebook has clarified its stand reiterating that it is an open and non partisan platform.

Clarifying the company’s stand, Facbeook India Vice President and Managing Director Ajit Mohan put out a blog post to highlight their position on allegations of bias. Claiming that they have an impartial approach to dealing with content strongly governed by their Community Standards, Facebook maintained that these policies are enforced globally irrespective of anyone’s political position, party, religious or party affiliation or cultural belief.

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“We have been accused of bias in the way we enforce our policies. We take allegations of bias incredibly seriously, and want to make it clear that we denounce hate and bigotry in any form,” he wrote in the blog.

Reaffirming Facebook’s commitment towards India, he said, “Facebook’s commitment to India and its people is unwavering. With some of our largest thriving communities in this country, we recognize our responsibility to keep our platforms to be places where people feel empowered to communicate safely.”

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Further, he also wrote, “Our aim is to be an ally for India where our platforms preserve the pluralistic character of a democracy by offering the freedom for people to express themselves and for entrepreneurs to build new things while also protecting society from broader harm.”

Facebook also claimed that its community standards, which are developed through both internal and external voices, are enforced worldwide.

“First and foremost, we want to make it clear that we denounce hate in any form. Our Community Standards, which outline what is and isn’t allowed on Facebook, have clear and very detailed policies against hate speech, which prohibit attacks on people on the basis of protected characteristics, including religion, ethnicity, caste and national origin,” wrote Mohan.

Clarifying about Facebook’s policies, Mohan wrote, “These policies are ever evolving to take into account the local sensitivities especially in a multicultural society such as India. An example is the inclusion of caste as a protected characteristic in our global hate speech policy in 2018.”

Claiming that Facebook has an impartial approach towards hate speech, Mohan said, “We have removed and will continue to remove content posted by public figures in India when it violates our Community Standards.”

Facebook has close to 300 million users while its messaging platform WhatsApp has 400 million userbase in India.

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