Facebook bans India ruling party leader over hate speech violations

04.09.2020

Facebook has banned a politician from India's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the centre of allegations that the social media giant did not apply hate speech rules to members of the ruling party.

"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 on Thursday. "The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove his account."

The move came a day after a parliamentary panel questioned Facebook India representatives following a report in the Wall Street Journal that alleged the company overlooked hate speech posts by leaders and right-wing Hindu groups affiliated with the BJP.

The paper had reported that a top executive, Ankhi Das, opposed applying hate-speech rules to profiles in Singh's name, which posted content calling Muslims traitors. The posts by Singh, a lawmaker in the southern state Telangana, were also flagged by the opposition during the hearing.

Facebook denied any bias and said it is a non-partisan platform.

Singh claimed he did not have any official Facebook page as he stopped using the platform in April 2019, therefore banning him "made no sense." He said earlier his official Facebook account was "hacked" in 2018, adding that "many Facebook pages are using my name ... I'm not responsible for any of their posts."

The BJP has also accused Facebook of bias against it, accusing the company's employees of abusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi.    (dpa)

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