Facebook under further pressure

Despite warnings, the group is said to have failed to curb the spread of hate speech in India. An increase in calls for violence had already been noted in 2019.

The US social media group Facebook  is under pressure because of new revelations about its handling of calls for violence in India. As reported by several US media, citing internal company documents, the group had failed to curb false information and hate messages in its Indian platforms despite the advice of its own analysts. Facebook was aware that the weak moderation made its platforms vulnerable to abuse.

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As of December 2019, Facebook analysts noted a sharp increase in "rumors and calls to violence". In February 2020, false information circulated on the associated short message service WhatsApp when dozens of people died in clashes between Hindus and Muslims in India . Facebook then hired researchers to talk to Indian users about their experiences with the algorithm.

Facebook rejects the allegations

A year earlier, scientists had also created the fictitious Facebook profile of a 21-year-old user in northern India. Without the help of the researchers, the profile was flooded with propaganda for the Hindu nationalist head of government Narendra Modi as well as hate speech against Muslims. "I have seen more pictures of the dead in the past three weeks than in my entire life," wrote the leader of the experiment.

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Facebook has already been criticized for allegations made by former product manager Frances Haugen . This had described that the company of Mark Zuckerberg puts profits above the security of people and thus accepts devastating consequences for people, democracy and society. Another source reported that alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election was downplayed through Facebook's services. The revelations recently intensified calls for stricter regulations from Facebook and Internet companies as a whole.

The group rejected the allegations. A company spokesman said the company had stepped up its fight against hate speech in non-English languages. "Hate speech against marginalized groups, including Muslims, is on the rise around the world," and Facebook is "improving its enforcement" to address this issue.

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