Thursday, June 13, 2024

Facebook’s failure to curb hate speech fuels anti-Muslim bigotry in India: Report

anti-trust probe by European regulators

A damning report has exposed how Facebook’s inability to effectively moderate hate speech on its platform in India has allowed extensive networks of pages to amplify calls for violence and genocide against Muslims, raising alarm over the human rights implications for the country’s largest religious minority.

The report, titled “Preachers of Hate,” by human rights organization Stichting The London Story (TLS), highlights how Facebook has blatantly failed to address hate content and hateful actors targeting religious minorities in India, its largest user market with nearly 350 million users. The study found that extensive fan page networks are using the platform to widely amplify hate speech, calls to violence, and incitements to genocide against Indian Muslims.

The dangerous content identified in the report falls under three broad themes: mobilizing Hindus against Muslims, xenophobic and ridiculing content against Muslims, and blatant calls for the elimination of Muslims.

The report reveals that the monitored fan pages received a staggering 160 million interactions between 2019 and 2021, with interactions spiking during controversies involving the actors being followed. For instance, interactions on fan pages of Yati Narsinghanand, a controversial Hindu leader, peaked in March and April 2021 when he was embroiled in a controversy involving the assault of a 14-year-old Muslim boy on his temple premises.

Some of the disturbing examples include videos of public speeches calling for the “elimination of Muslims and Islam from the face of the earth” and likening Islam to “cancer.”

Failure to Enforce Community Standards

Despite the content violating Meta’s community standards on hate speech and dangerous individuals, the report states that Facebook has failed to implement its policies, even when the content was reported. The prolonged presence of these actors and their fan clubs on the platform underscores Meta’s inability to regulate its platforms effectively.

The report warns that a business-as-usual scenario without effective content moderation on Facebook has serious human rights implications for Indian minorities and India’s democracy. It calls for urgent action from Meta to address the unbridled amplification of communal hatred on its platforms, which has exponentially deepened societal divisions in the country.


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