Facebook writes to Congress, says it removed 22.5 million pieces of hate speech content from April-June 2020

New Delhi, September 3: Facebook has written to Congress after the latter had raised the issue of hate speech content in a letter last month. Facebook stated that it had removed 22.5 million pieces of hate speech content from April-June in 2020 which is up from 1.6 million pieces of hate speech content removed in the last quarter of 2017.. The latest Transparency…

New Delhi [India], September 3 (ANI): Facebook has written to Congress after the latter had raised the issue of hate speech content in a letter last month. Facebook stated that it had removed 22.5 million pieces of hate speech content from April-June in 2020 which is up from 1.6 million pieces of hate speech content removed in the last quarter of 2017.

“We’ve published Transparency Reports to be open and proactive in explaining how we action harmful content on our platforms. The latest Transparency Report includes Community Standards enforcement data on how we take action against violating content across our platforms,” Facebook said in a letter addressed to Congress.

“We removed 22.5 million pieces of hate speech content from April-June in 2020, up from 1.6 million pieces of hate speech content removed in the last quarter of 2017. We know there is much more to do and will continue to invest our efforts to combat hate speech on our services,” it added while addressing the concerns expressed by the party.

It further stated: “In the last interaction with you and other esteemed members of your party, we described our Community Standards–our policies on what is and isn’t allowed on Facebook–and shared the steps we have taken on our platforms in the wake of COVID-19.”

“On the question of hateful content by public figures, we want to assure you that our Community Standards prohibit attacks against people based on their protected characteristics, including religion, caste, ethnicity, and national origin. In line with our hate speech policy, we have removed and will continue to remove hateful content by public figures in India on our platforms,” it added.

All India Congress Committee acknowledged Facebook’s response and expected that strict action will be taken against hate speech content on the platform by removing it.

“We have today received a response from Facebook Inc. Facebook has thanked the Congress party for raising this concern and acknowledged its seriousness while not refuting any of the charges made against individuals of the Facebook India leadership team in the media articles. They have also expressed their desire to be non-partisan and continue to engage with the Congress party on these matters,” read a statement issued by Praveen Chakravarty, Chairman, AICC Data Analytics.

Chakravarty further said: “Over the past few weeks, there have been significant revelations made by credible international media publications about the dubious conduct of Facebook and WhatsApp India’s leadership team.”

“Specifically, there were 3 articles by the Wall Street Journal and Time magazine that revealed how personal biases and proximity of Facebook and WhatsApp India leadership team with the ruling BJP spilled over to their professional endeavours and used the near-monopoly power of their platforms to influence and interfere in India’s electoral democracy and social harmony,” he added.

Chakravarty further said: “The Indian National Congress, as a national political party, raised alarm over interference in India’s internal affairs by a foreign company. This is not a political issue. This is about India’s democracy and use of digital weapons to disrupt India’s social order by a foreign company, at the behest of certain individuals in their leadership team.”

On August 18, 2020, the Congress party wrote a letter to Facebook Inc. in Menlo Park, USA, expressing concern and asking them to acknowledge the issue and take corrective action. (ANI)

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