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FB knows pro-RSS groups promote anti-Muslim hatred, but does nothing: Haugen

"There were a number of dehumanizing posts comparing Muslims to ‘pigs’ and ‘dogs’ and misinformation claiming...", the whistleblower said

Wednesday October 6, 2021 6:12 PM, ummid.com News Network

Modi Facebook CEO Mark

[Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a file photo.]

Mumbai: Facebook was aware of fake and anti-Muslim narratives and hate against the community promoted by groups and people linked with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) but it did nothing to stop them, Frances Haugen, whistleblower who was formerly working with the social media giant, said in her testimony.

In a complaint on how Facebook “promotes global division and ethnic violence” filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lawyers for Haugen cited internal company documents to claim that “political sensitivities” prevented the popular social media company from categorising or providing a designation to “this group”, in what appears to be a reference to whether greater monitoring as required for RSS-connected content, The Wire said in a report.

“RSS [Indian nationalist organisation with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] Users, Groups, and Pages promote fear-mongering, anti-Muslim narratives targeted pro-Hindu populations with V&I [violence and inciting] intent…. There were a number of dehumanizing posts comparing Muslims to ‘pigs’ and ‘dogs’ and misinformation claiming Quran calls for men to rape their female family members..”, the news portal said in its report, carrying snapshots and images of the complaint-document submitted to SEC by Haugen, a data scientist who worked at Facebook until May 2021.


Another document, though undated, claimed that “40% of Top VPV (view port views, or impressions) civic posters in West Bengal were inauthentic/fake” and that the “highest VPV user to be assessed as inauthentic had more than 30M accrued” in the last 28 days”.

Nonetheless, the whist-blower further said the company did not take any action given its “lack of Hindi and Bengali classifiers”.

Modi with Ankhi Das

[Prime Minister Modi with former Facebook India head, Ankhi Das, in a file photo.]

This is not the first time Facebook is accused of “profiting off hate”. Back in September 2020, Ashok Chandwaney, an Indian-origin engineer working with Facebook, quit the company, accusing against the social network similar allegations.

Also Read | Frances Haugen reveals how Facebook "metrics" driven culture hurting children

Chandwaney, who worked at Facebook for more than five years, slammed the social media giant for its inability to combat the spread of hate speech, and misinformation and incitements to violence in the United States and globally.

Facebook’s close association with BJP – political offshoot of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), also came to light when Ankhi Das, Facebook India head, had to resign from her post following a report by Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper in its report in August 2020 claimed that the top leadership at Facebook's India office refused to apply the company's own rules to politicians from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), despite clear violations of Facebook's policies against incitement to violence, hate speech and misinformation.

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