The Hindu

Our policies on hate speech are uniformly applied: Facebook

Decisions made by teams, not unilateral­ly by just one person, says India head

- Special Correspond­ent

Following allegation of bias in implementi­ng the company’s own guidelines on hate speech in India, Facebook India Vice-President and Managing Director Ajit Mohan on Friday said the social network platform is “non-partisan” and denounces hate and bigotry in any form.

The statement comes almost a week after a report published by the Wall Street

Journal alleged that the company violated its own rules for hate-speech in favour of some individual­s, including those associated with the ruling BJP, after opposition from Ankhi Das, the head of public policy at Facebook India.

The report stated that Ms. Das had reasoned that punishing violations by politician­s from the ruling party “would damage the company’s business prospects in the country”.

Mr Mohan, in a post, said over the last few days, Facebook has been accused of bias in the way it enforces its policies.

“We take allegation­s of bias incredibly seriously, and want to make it clear that we denounce hate and bigotry in any form,” he said.

He added that Facebook is and always has been an open, transparen­t and nonpartisa­n platform where people can express themselves freely.

‘Impartial approach’

Stating that many questions have been raised specifical­ly about enforcemen­t of the company’s policies around hate speech, Mr Mohan said, “There is no place for hate speech on our platform. We have an impartial approach to dealing with content and are strongly governed by our Community Standards. We enforce these policies globally without regard to anyone’s political position, party affiliatio­n or religious and cultural belief.”

Mr Mohan said the platform will continue to remove content posted by public figures in India when it violates our Community Standards.

“Decisions about designatin­g people or groups as “dangerous individual­s or organizati­ons” are different — these are based on a combinatio­n of signals and are made by our dangerous organisati­ons team who have deep expertise in terrorism and organized hate and pay attention to global and regional trends,” he said.

Individual­s who are designated as “dangerous” are removed from Facebook services altogether, and all praise, support and representa­tion of them is taken down, as well, he added.

“Because the penalty associated with designatio­n is so severe, it’s important that our analysis is comprehens­ive and detailed, and that our process applies consistent­ly and fairly around the world,” Mr. Mohan said.

He further clarified that “In addition to the external input that informs our designatio­n process, we also solicit input from cross-functional teams internal to the company when we’re making decisions about individual designatio­ns. These decisions cannot and are not made unilateral­ly by just one person; rather, they are inclusive of different views from around the company, a process that is critical to making sure we consider, understand and account for both local and global contexts. And the process is dynamic and ongoing based on newly available informatio­n or activity.”

 ?? REUTERS ■ ?? Speaking up: The social networking platform denounces bigotry in any form, says Ajit Mohan.
REUTERS ■ Speaking up: The social networking platform denounces bigotry in any form, says Ajit Mohan.

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