Facebook bans BJP MLA after hate speech row intensifies
Facebook, which is at the center of a storm in India after a report claimed it didn't act against hate speech of members of the ruling BJP, on Thursday banned T Raja Singh from its platform. The BJP MLA from Telangana, The Wall Street Journal report said, was one of the few people who got away despite spewing venom on Facebook. Here's more.
Have banned Raja Singh for violating our policies: Facebook
Confirming the development, a Facebook spokesperson said, "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." In a bid to curtail the criticism coming its way, the spokesperson also claimed Facebook extensively evaluates "potential violators" and this is what drove the latest decision.
Singh's content allegedly violated Facebook's policy, but he remained scot-free
To note, the WSJ report, published last month, mentioned posts by Singh wherein he called for violence against minorities. Despite the posts being classified as hate speech by Facebook employees, no action was initiated, allegedly at the behest of Facebook India executive Ankhi Das. WSJ said Das stopped a permanent ban on Singh telling employees that it could affect Facebook's "business prospects" in India.
Meanwhile, Singh claimed he does not have a Facebook page
As the news report sparked a political slugfest, Singh claimed last month that he doesn't have an official Facebook page. "I have got to know many FB pages are using my name. Let me clarify I'm not having any official page, I'm not responsible for any of their posts, (sic)" he said, also adding that in 2018 his Facebook account was "hacked and blocked."
Banned from Facebook, Singh said he was "happy"
Singh, the lone BJP MLA in Telangana, also said he was being projected like a dangerous person. A known rabble-rouser, he said he had official accounts only on YouTube and Twitter. When informed about the latest incident, Singh told The News Minute, "I just got to know that all accounts operating on my name have been taken down. I'm very happy about this. (sic)"
Yesterday, parliamentary panel met Facebook officials, asked questions about bias
Notably, Facebook made a move against Singh a day after its officials appeared before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, headed by Congress' Shashi Tharoor. At the over three-hour-long meeting, Facebook officials found themselves caught in a BJP-Congress crossfire, with both parties grilling them about their political leanings. More than 150 questions remained unanswered but Facebook agreed to submit a consolidated written reply.
BJP and Congress traded barbs over hate speech
During the meeting, both BJP and Congress MPs leveled tit-for-tat allegations about hate speech on each other, reports News18. Citing sources, NDTV reported that MPs were particularly aghast when Facebook apprised it doesn't take suo motu cognizance of an objectionable post until it is flagged. The opposition MPs grilled Facebook over its alleged links with the ruling BJP, as claimed by WSJ.
To be continued: Tharoor after long meeting with Facebook officials
In response to overwhelming media interest in the meeting of the ParliamentaryStandingCommittee on InformationTechnology that just adjourned, this is all I can say: we met for some threea half hours unanimously agreed to resume the discussion later, incl w/ reps of @Facebook.— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) September 2, 2020
As row raged, RS Prasad wrote letter to Facebook's boss
Just when the opposition used the Facebook controversy to slam BJP, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg alleging that the platform was biased against BJP. "It's problematic when Facebook employees are on record abusing the Prime Minister and senior Cabinet ministers of India while still working in Facebook India and managing important positions," Prasad's letter, sent on Tuesday, read.