Monday, January 16, 2017

Facebook blocking users for social, political posts in India: Is it right-wing groups' mass reporting or FB India's bias?

Facebook is blocking users for posts that neither incite hatred, nor put up any objectionable content.

Users are blocked for days, at times even for a month.

Mostly, users who are popular and have huge following are being warned or blocked.

Those who are facing it on a regular basis, write in Hindi, and mostly comment on social-political issues.

Surprisingly, most of these users don't seem to violate any guidelines. There are only two explanations for this:

Firstly, most of them are critical of political parties and write against Fascism and right-wing extremism. Some of them are critical of BJP and its policies.

Secondly, those who have huge following on Facebook and are in a position to spread the message far and wide, are being targeted. This is being done by 'reporting'.

Apparently, you 'mass report' an account. When many people report, the Facebook India officials perhaps close their eyes and simply act, without checking whether the user has violated any guidelines or not.

Senior journalist Dilip Mandal has written that it seems Bahujan and Muslim writers are being targeted. "Mostly Muslims, writers who are anti-caste are targeted....posts critical of government are also removed", he writes.

"Facebook India is a corporate body and it is understandable those who have more influence in Indian society, would also be among the decision makers in FB. It is a test of Facebook's credibility. Let's see if it passes it.