Facebook Employees Question Management Over Hate Speech Controversy In India: Reuters Report

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Facebook Employees Question Management Over Hate Speech Controversy In India: Reuters Report

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An open letter written to Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg by at least 11 employees has demanded company leaders to denounce “anti-Muslim bigotry” and ensure better policy consistency.

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Facebook and its Director, Public Policy for India, Ankhi Das, are under the scanner by its employees over how political content is regulated by the social media giant, according to Reuters.

Facebook is tackling a public-relations and political tussle in India after a report published by the Wall Street Journal stated that Das had removed incendiary posts by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders who had referred to Muslims as 'traitors' and also did not reveal that Facebook had deleted fake news pages connected to the saffron party.

Facebook employees across the world are now raising questions about whether content regulation practices were being followed by the India team in accordance with the company's policies.

An open letter written to Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg by at least 11 employees has demanded company leaders to denounce "anti-Muslim bigotry" and ensure better policy consistency.

The letter also urged Facebook's policy team in India (and elsewhere) to include "diverse representation."

"It is hard not to feel frustrated and saddened by the incidents reported ... We know we're not alone in this. Employees across the company are expressing similar sentiment," the letter stated. "The Muslim community at Facebook would like to hear from Facebook leadership on our asks."

The social media giant has been under the radar multiple times in recent years for its "complacent" approach to fake news content, disinformation campaigns and violent content spread via its platforms.

The contentious WSJ article also stated tha Das had alerted the staff that applying hate-speech rules to politicians in the BJP "would damage the company's business prospects in the country."

Denying all allegations made in the report, Facebook said it "prohibits hate speech that incites violence and enforces policies without regard to political position or party affiliation.

"While we know there is more to do, we're making progress on enforcement and conduct regular audits," the company said.

Responding to the WSJ report, Facebook India head Ajit Mohan said, "article does not reflect the person I know or the extraordinarily complex issues we face everyday that benefits from Ankhi and the Public Policy team's expertise."

Mohan also said that the company is "confident that the article's claim that political affiliations influence decision making in India is inaccurate and without merit."

Also Read: FIR Against Facebook Policy Head Ankhi Das For 'Inciting Communal Animosity'

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