Can Facebook stop the Modi mob?


Narendra Modi and Mark Zuckerberg hug after a meeting. PHOTO: AFP

The company might be so deep in the BJP’s pocket that it wouldn’t ever dare turn against its patron

Most people across the world who have ever publicly criticised India on the internet, or even just hinted that they’re sceptical of its society’s claims to be a “superpower”, have probably been victimised by troll abuse. Some of these trolls, who the author refers at as the “Modi Mob”, are reportedly connected to the ruling BJP according to reports. Sadhavi Khosla, for example, published a book in December 2016 titled “I Am A Troll” in which she revealed the details of her former life as a troll attacking journalists, actors, and political figures online according to The Guardian’s story about her work at the time.

Those who’ve been on the receiving end of such abuse, such as the author himself, are often frustrated that Facebook rarely takes action against those trolls despite them being reported for violating the platforms community standards. Now, however, there might finally be an answer the question of why justice is barely ever served, and it’s that BJP is accused of exerting political influence over Facebook. The Wall Street Journal reported in their piece last week about how “Facebook’s Hate-Speech Rules Collide With Indian Politics” that a BJP lobbyist intervened to prevent the platform from banning a party member who spewed hate speech.

Just a few days ago, Reuters ran a follow-up story titled “Exclusive: Facebook Employees Internally Question Policy After India Controversy – Sources, Memos”, which claimed that some of its workers were pushing back against their company’s double standard of turning a blind eye to hate speech whenever it comes from BJP figures, allegedly due to the party’s influence over Facebook. It’s still too early to tell whether this will lead to Facebook finally applying their rules across the board without exception, but it’s a welcome sign which suggests that there are at least a few ethically minded people there who strongly disagree with what’s happening.

The Express Tribune for more

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