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Facebook executive in India alleges threat to life; seeks police protection

Employee says she is "under constant fear" and that "perpetrators are deliberately operating through online accounts to hide their identity and to further spread misinformation and incite violence against her"

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | August 17, 2020 | Updated 14:48 IST
Facebook executive in India alleges threat to life; seeks police protection
A Wall Street Journal report recently alleged Facebook ignored its hate speech policy and allowed anti-Muslim posts on its platform to avoid ruining its relationship with PM Modi-led BJP

Days after an incriminating news report that alleged links between social media giant Facebook and Bharatiya Janata Party, a Facebook executive has complained to police saying there's a threat to her life. The woman has named at least five individuals in her complaint and has sought police protection. "I am under constant fear and threat, especially being a woman. The perpetrators are deliberately operating through online accounts to hide their identity and to further spread misinformation and incite violence against me to meet their agenda," the 49-year-old in her police complaint said, reported NDTV.

She said her complaint is about an article dated 14 August 2020, "Facebook Hate-Speech Rules Collide with Indian Politics", which was published in Wall Street Journal and further published in a mischaracterised and distorted manner in India by various publications. The report was widely circulated on social media and people also started an online campaign to deactivate their Facebook accounts. Meanwhile, the police have launched an investigation after the woman's complaint.

The report, published on last Friday, alleged that Facebook ignored its hate speech policy and allowed anti-Muslim posts on its platform to avoid ruining its relationship with PM Modi-led BJP. Facebook, in its response, has said it "prohibits hate speech and content that incites violence". The company has added that it enforces policies globally "regardless of anyone's political position or party affiliation".

The row has caught political colour, with opposition leaders including Rahul Gandhi and Shashi Tharoor demanding clarification from the ruling party and the tech giant. Tharoor, who heads the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, said the panel would like to hear from Facebook about the report.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also accused the BJP and RSS of spreading "fake news" using Facebook and WhatsApp to influence the electorate. "BJP & RSS control Facebook & Whatsapp in India. They spread fake news and hatred through it and use it to influence the electorate. Finally, the American media has come out with the truth about Facebook," he tweeted.

Also read: Facebook denies ties with BJP, says it enforces policies regardless of anyone's 'political position

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