India’s IT minister accuses Facebook of bias amid row over content

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India’s IT minister accused Facebook of censoring articles from people supportive of right wing ideology in the most recent salvo in the social media giant over content regulation in its own biggest user marketplace.

In a letter to Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, reviewed by journalists, Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said he was told that Facebook’s India management team had made a concerted attempt to censor such content before India’s 2019 election.

“Facebook must not only be fair and neutral, but also visibly seen to be so, to users of diverse beliefs and ideologies.”

Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Prasad’s correspondence came amid rising political controversy in India over how Facebook regulates political content at a major market where it’s over 300 million users.

Facebook and its high lobbying executive in India, Ankhi Das, attracted criticism from left-leaning opposition lawmakers following the Wall Street Journal reported that she compared using hate-speech restrictions to some Hindu nationalist individuals and groups, fearing damage to Facebook’s business prospects.

Lawmakers of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in turn detained Facebook of censoring nationalist voices and dismissed criticism that the US company was whatsoever favouring the BJP, a Hindu nationalist party.

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In response to past criticism in India, Facebook has stated it’s a non-partisan platform which condemns bigotry and it is going to continue to eliminate content published by public figures as soon as it violates its so-called community norms.

In his letter, Prasad phoned on Facebook to put in position country-specific guidelines to regulate content.

Facebook workers have in recent weeks questioned whether appropriate content regulation policies were being followed in India, and urged the company to guarantee more coverage consequences, our news agency partners Reuters has reported.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed the ‘India’s IT minister accuses Facebook of bias amid row over content‘ article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal. Writing by Aditya Kalra and Sudarshan Varadhan. Editing by Mark Heinrich.

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