Facebook executive opposes taking down hate-speech from Hindu Nationalists in fear of angering the ruling BJP party in India, the Walls Street Journal alleges.
Rabat – Facebook has been reluctant to apply its own rules against hate-speech by tolerating problematic statements targeting Muslims in India. An investigation by the Wall Street Journal revealed that a top official at Facebook feared angering India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) if it would censor hate-speech against Muslims originating from a party official.
BJP lawmaker Raja Singh, made Islamophobic remarks that were flagged internally at Facebook for promoting violence. However, they were not removed as per Facebook’s hate-speech policy. Singh has a long history of making problematic and hateful remarks about India’s Muslim community.
Facebook’s top public policy executive in India, Ankhi Das, made the decision not to remove the politician’s hate speech against Muslims. She did so in order to keep good relations between Facebook and the ruling Hindu nationalist party, the investigation revealed..
Appeasing Hindu Nationalism
“Ms. Das, whose job also includes lobbying India’s government on Facebook’s behalf, told staff members that punishing violations by politicians from Mr. Modi’s party would damage the company’s business prospects in the country,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
The investigation by the US newspaper claimed that the intervention by Das is part of a larger pattern of Facebook appeasing the BJP. It alleges that Facebook has been allowing the party’s increasingly blatant Islamophobic remarks.
India’s Muslim community is facing increasing threats of mob violence because of Hindu Nationalist propaganda. The BJP uses mainstream media and social media to blame the country’s problems, including the COVID-epidemic, on its Muslim community.
The BJP is now receiving favorable treatment by Facebook on election issues while shutting down pages from sources opposed to India’s Hindu Nationalists. Following the Wall Street Journal’s revelations Facebook, hurriedly deleted Singh’s problematic statement and has removed his status as an official verified account.