In a recent article, the Wall Street Journal said Facebook had consciously opposed applying hate-speech rules to members of the ruling party BJP – in contrast to similar action taken against white supremacist content. In fact, the article also alleges that a senior Facebook India member told its staff members that punishing violations by politicians from Mr Modi’s party would damage the company’s business prospects in the country.
It’s not the first time these allegations have been raised against the social media giant. In their book released in 2019, authors Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and Cyril Sam say that along with Facebook’s other arm WhatsApp a systematic web of fake and potentially dangerous news was spread, in the run-up to the elections and on a regular basis.
What’s going on inside Facebook and what are these business interests that are allowing hate speech to go unchecked in India? Here’s a conversation with the authors on Facebook, Whatsapp and their modus operandi in India.