Facebook bans BJP politician Raja Singh as pressure mounts over hate speech violations

New Delhi: Under pressure for weeks over its handling of hate speech, Facebook on Thursday banned BJP politician T Raja Singh from its platform and Instagram for violating its policy around content promoting violence and hate.

"We have banned Raja Singh from Facebook for violating our policy prohibiting those that promote or engage in violence and hate from having a presence on our platform," a Facebook spokesperson said in an emailed statement. The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to Facebook's decision to remove his account, according to the statement.

Facebook - which counts India among its largest markets with over 300 million users - has been in the eye of a storm after a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report alleged that Facebook's content policies favoured the ruling party in India.

The report had alleged that Facebook had ignored posts containing hate speech by BJP MLA Raja Singh. Since then, the ruling BJP and Congress have been trading barbs over social media giant's alleged bias. In the wake of the WSJ report, a Parliamentary panel had summoned Facebook representatives to discuss the issue of alleged misuse of the social media platform on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had also written to Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg accusing the social media platform's employees of supporting people from a political predisposition that lost successive elections, and "abusing" the Prime Minister and senior cabinet ministers.

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