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Hate Speech and Misinformation on Facebook: Centre Prepares Report

The ministry plans to get in touch with Facebook's executives to understand how the algorithms work.

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After Facebook employee-turned-whistleblower Frances Haugen alleged discrepancies in the social networking site's algorithms that lead Indian users towards "hate speech and misinformation", the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) is preparing a report on the findings that are related to India, The Indian Express reported.

The ministry plans to get in touch with Facebook's executives to understand how the algorithms work and prepare and finalise the report by this week.

“If needed, we will call their executives to explain how their algorithms work and the action they have taken so far to counter misinformation and hate speech. For now, we will have to study (the revelations made by Haugen),” sources told The Indian Express.

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The report will also include findings by a Facebook researcher in Kerala who encountered hate speech and misinformation due to its algorithms.

Haugen had leaked a series of documents, called 'The Facebook Papers', that have revealed how Facebook allowed hate speech and misinformation to thrive on its platform, despite being aware of it.

The documents detail multiple notes and studies conducted in India since February 2019, including one with a test account to check Facebook's recommendation algorithm and how it exposed users to hate speech and misinformation.

Responding to the test account query, a Facebook spokesperson told The Indian Express, “This exploratory effort of one hypothetical test account inspired deeper, more rigorous analysis of our recommendation systems, and contributed to product changes to improve them."

(With inputs from The Indian Express.)

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