In reply to Congress, Facebook says it's non-partisan, denounces hate and bigotry

New Delhi, September 3: Amid allegations against Facebook of political bias and interference in India’s democratic process, the social media giant on Thursday said that it is non-partisan, denounces hate and bigotry in all forms and strives to ensure that its platforms remain a space where people can express themselves freely. In a reply to Congress’ general…

New Delhi [India], September 3 (ANI): Amid allegations against Facebook of political bias and interference in India’s democratic process, the social media giant on Thursday said that it is non-partisan, denounces hate and bigotry in all forms and strives to ensure that its platforms remain a space where people can express themselves freely.

In a reply to Congress’ general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal’s letter accusing the social media platform of “interfering in India’s electoral democracy,” Facebook’s Trust and Safety Director Neil Potts said, “We are non-partisan and strive to ensure that our platforms remain a space where people can express themselves freely. We take allegations of bias seriously and want to make clear that we denounce hate and bigotry in all forms.”

“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,” he said in the letter.

The Facebook official said as part of its policy development process, “We consult a community of external voices, including civil society organisations, academics, and subject experts, besides also relying extensively on inputs from a broad cross-section of internal teams who understand both local and global contexts in the enforcement of our policies on hate speech and dangerous organisations and individuals.”

The Facebook official said that company has a team with deep expertise on terrorism and organised hate, who pay attention to global and regional trends and advise on these matters.

“These decisions are not made unilaterally by any one person; rather, they are inclusive of different views from teams around the company, a process that is critical to making sure we consider, understand, and account for both the local and global contexts,” the official said.

“To reiterate, we are committed to maintaining the highest levels of integrity in the way we operate and in fostering an environment of free and safe expression on our platforms. We are thankful for the recommendations and would appreciate the opportunity to engage with you and the party on these matters,” he said.

On August 29, Venugopal had alleged “quid-pro-quo” relationship between Facebook and the BJP and wrote a letter to the social networking platform founder Mark Zuckerberg seeking information about steps the company is planning to take to investigate the matter. (ANI)

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