Ex-Civil Servants Write to Zuckerberg Over FB’s Hate Speech Policy
Mark Zuckerberg has been sent an open letter by a group of ex-civil servants addressing firm’s hate speech policy.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been sent an open letter by a group of ex-civil servants expressing concerns over the company’s policies against hate speech and how Facebook failed to take action against some BJP leaders after it was reported by the Wall Street Journal.
It was on 14 August that a WSJ report stated that Facebook India had taken a step back from applying its hate speech policies against BJP leader T Raja Singh where Facebook’s top public policy executive in India, Ankhi Das, refused to take action.
In the letter, the Constitutional Conduct, which comprises members from a civil society group made up of retired civil servants said it was “impartial and committed” to the Indian constitution and was for the first time communicating the message to a “non-Indian body” to cite its disapproval against how Facebook has been handling hate speech on its platform.
The letter points out how hate speech on social media platforms like Facebook affects democratic rights and it also highlighted how Facebook has defined hate speech as a direct attack on people for characteristics such as race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, etc.
Furthermore, the group also talked about how the “derogatory comments’ by T Raja Singh against Muslims spreading COVID-19 stood against Facebook’s own policy.
The group was also dejected by the fact that public policy head of Facebook in India has consciously opposed applying the company’s hate speech policies against the infamous BJP leaders for the fear of jeopardising Facebook’s relations with the government in power.
The signatories also mentioned the communal riots that took place in February 2020 and also how social media and messaging platforms have played a crucial role in adding fuel to fire when evils like cow vigilantism and instances of mob lynching have pervaded throughout the country.
“Many of these crimes have been instigated through hate speech spread through various communication channels, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter,” they said.
They also added that despite the presence of such anti-social elements on their platforms, Facebook failed to curb hate speech in a non-partisan manner.
To conclude, the group asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to undertake more stringent actions towards curbing hate speech on its platform and not to let business prospect and the interest of the platform deter the implementation of its policy against hate speech.
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