Facebook bans BJP MLA Raja Singh as pressure mounts over hate speech violations

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Facebook bans BJP MLA Raja Singh as pressure mounts over hate speech violations
Facebook bans BJP MLA Raja Singh as pressure mounts over hate speech violations

“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.

Facing severe criticism for its alleged bias over handling of hate speech, Facebook on Thursday banned Telangana BJP MLA T Raja Singh from its platform and Instagram for violating its policy around content promoting violence and hate.

“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 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 hate-speech — calling for violence against minorities — allegedly by Singh, the report cited “current and former” Facebook employees as saying that Das’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”.

Since then, the ruling BJP and Congress have been trading barbs 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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