Caravan Magazine on Monday claimed that social media giant Facebook did not let them promote an article that was critical of Home Minister Amit Shah and his son Jay, amid the Wall Street Journal report that the Mark Zuckerbeg-led company had let the BJP get away with hate speech.
“For 11 days, Facebook did not approve the request to promote our story on Amit Shah and Jay Shah. In the case of an important news story that is part of a rapidly developing news cycle, a boost 11 days after its release is meaningless,” Caravan said on its Twitter account.
Earlier, according to the report by Wall Street Journal (WSJ), a senior Facebook official in India was opposed to applying hate speech rules against leaders associated with the BJP and other Hindutva groups.
As per the report, Ankhi Das, who is Facebook’s top public policy executive in India, opposed applying hate speech rules to the BJP’s T. Raja Singh out of fear of ruining the company’s relationship with the ruling party.
The Wall Street Journal reported that in Facebook posts, "T. Raja Singh has said Rohingya Muslim immigrants should be shot, called Muslims traitors and threatened to raze mosques.”
The report also states that Das gave the BJP “favourable treatment on election-related issues”. "In April of last year, days before voting began in India’s general election, Facebook announced it had taken down inauthentic pages tied to Pakistan’s military and the Congress party, the BJP’s main rival party. But it didn’t disclose it also removed pages with false news tied to the BJP, because Ms. Das intervened," former employees of Facebook told The Wall Street Journal.
The Congress accused Facebook of bias and alignment with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), with Rahul Gandhi sharing the WSJ article on Sunday.
On Monday, Congress' Data Analytics chief Praveen Chakravarty said that Facebook India's alignment is not just with one person, but there are many in the leadership team with a close working relationship with people in the saffron party. He also gave 'various instances' of the social media website's interference in the Indian elections.
Meanwhile, in an op-ed for the Indian Express, BJP Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore went after the Congress and the left, saying that what the Left wants is “not control over hate speech but unfettered freedom of hate speech to its ideologically-aligned members. That is why you would hear Mark Zuckerberg quote Kapil Mishra but say nothing on Sonia Gandhi who exhorted people in Delhi to do “aar paar ki ladai” (prepare for the final battle). There are millions of posts mocking Hindu gods and abusing right-of-centre leaders. But Facebook’s advanced algorithms and community standards fail to catch them. However, unsuspecting common people running pro-right-of-centre pages are suspended with no right to appeal.”