FB Removes Misinformation Tag From Biswa’s ‘Pro-Pak’ Slogan Video

Facebook had tagged the video as “false information” on Saturday, 7 November, to prevent users from sharing it.

Updated
India
2 min read
Assam Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. Image used for representation.
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Social media site Facebook on Monday, 9 November, removed the “misinformation” tag from a video shared by Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), accusing Opposition leaders of shouting “pro-Pakistan” slogans.

Facebook had tagged the video as “false information” on Saturday to prevent users from sharing it.

The social media site had then said that the video put out by Biswa was analysed by the independent fact-checkers and the information shared by Sarma had no factual basis.

On Monday, a Facebook spokesperson told The Indian Express that politicians are exempted from its third-party fact-checking programme and the tag was erroneously put on Sarma’s post.

Himant Biswa on Monday tweeted: “Video is a genuine one and not doctored. Good that the video is restored once again.”

FIR Lodged By the Opposition

On Monday, Congress General Secretary Ranjan Bora from the Opposition lodged an FIR in Bhangagarh police station in Guwahati against Sarma.

In the FIR, Bora stated that the minister posted remarks on social media with an “intention to create religious tension between two communities through a misleading statement and false Facebook post,” The Indian Express reported.

The complaint also mentions that Sarma allegedly had the ‘habit of making communally sensitive remarks’ and doing it at a time when Assembly elections are around the corner can cause communal tension,” NDTV reported.

“A case was registered under relevant sections. We will investigate the matter as per the law,” a senior police official told news agency PTI. Another official spoke to NDTV and told them that a case has been registered under IPC sections of promoting enmity between groups and attempting to commit offences punishable with life imprisonment.

"These sections will be read with Section 67 (publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) of the IT Act," reported NDTV.

Background

Sarma tweeted a video on 6 November claiming that it showed supporters of All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) raising "Pakistan zindabad" slogans at the Silchar Airport in Assam while welcoming MP Badruddin Ajmal.

“Look at the brazenness of these fundamentalists anti-national people who are shouting PAKISTAN ZINDABAD while they welcome MP [Badruddin] Ajmal,” he wrote on Facebook, along with the video.

“This thoroughly exposes Indian National Congress, which is encouraging such forces by forging an alliance. We shall fight them tooth and nail. Jai Hind,” Sarma had tweeted.

However, The Quint’s WebQoof found out that the AIUDF supporters were saying "Aziz Khan zindabad" to welcome Aziz Ahmed Khan, who is an AIUDF Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA).

Ajmal had earlier told the media, “Aziz Khan’s supporters shouted slogans in his support.”

(With inputs from The Indian Express, NDTV and PTI)

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