NE exodus: Facebook to remove hate speech

Updated: Wednesday, August 29, 2012, 16:27 [IST]
 
Facebook to remove hate speech

Washington, Aug 22: In the backdrop of appeals by India to remove hate posts, world's largest social networking website Facebook today said it will remove content, block pages or even disable accounts of those users who upload contents that incite violence or perpetuate hate speech.

Comprehending the gravity, Facebook's stern warning to its users comes in the wake of the Indian government bringing to its notice the posting of contents, including inflammatory matters and doctored pictures and videos to create social unrest in the country.

"Facebook will remove content which breaches our terms as set out in our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Content or individuals can be removed from Facebook for a variety of reasons including issuing direct calls for violence or perpetuating hate speech," a Facebook spokesperson told PTI.

"We have received requests from Indian authorities and agencies and are working through those requests and responding to the agencies. We encourage people to continue to use our tools to report content they are concerned about so that we can investigate and take action fast," the spokesperson said when asked about the actions being taken by the company.

Given the gravity of the situation, which the social networking site officials term "an emergency situation", a large number of Facebook employees are working round the clock in both India and the US to review and monitor the content and take necessary action, which the company says is part of its social responsibilities.

In fact, Facebook has already removed quite a significant number of such "inflammatory" and "hate" contents from its website and in some cases blocked pages.

However, because of the company policy and privacy reasons, its official would not quantify the number of such actions.

If any user repeatedly tries to upload such hateful content, Facebook can even disable the account, said an official requesting anonymity as he was not allowed to speak to the press on this issue.

Expressing serious concern over the current situation in India wherein people have tried to use Facebook as a tool to incite violence or spread hate, the official said Facebook has taken a number of measures to prevent this.

The company is taking a cue from its 2010 experience of riots in London wherein it closely worked with local police to prevent its website being used by hatemongers for either gathering purposes or spread rumours.

The Facebook, the official said, is "pretty aligned" with the views of the Indian government on this and have "not run into any issues" with the government.

"We understand the gravity of the situation," the official said, adding that the company has intensified the monitoring of such content related to India.

Facebook has some 50 million users in India. Company officials urged users to remain alert on any such inflammatory or objectionable posting and keep it informed.

PTI

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