Ahead of the general elections in Pakistan, social media giant Facebook has disabled several accounts and official pages of Milli Muslim League (MML). MML is a political front of International terrorist Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat- ud Dawa. Facebook took the to ensure transparency during the upcoming elections.
Facebook Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Zuckerberg had earlier underlined that it was his priority to make sure his social networking website supports positive discourse and prevents interference in the upcoming general elections of Pakistan, India, Brazil, Mexico and other countries. The general election of Pakistan is slated to take place on July 25 while the general election in India will take place in 2019.
Very recently, a Facebook functionary had contacted the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and asked for help from local administration to identify and remove fake pages of different political parties ahead of the elections. In response to the social media giant, the ECP had said that the Commission does not maintain any official page and account on the social media portal. Later, after holding discussions with senior officers and among his members, the ECP had responded to the Facebook administration.
The ECP never recognised the MML as a political party. After Pakistan’s election officials denied of its recognition, Saeed announced that around 200 candidates of his party will contest the polls under Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek (AAT). Earlier this year, US President Donald Trump-led administration had placed MML on the list of foreign terror groups for its connections with major militant organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
MML spokesperson Tabish Qayyum has strongly condemned the Facebook’s action. Qayyum also said the freedom of expression is the basic right of every individual and political party. Speaking to Pakistan’s The Express Tribune, Qayyum said, “Elections are round-the-corner and all political parties are using social media for electioneering. Deleting MML candidates and workers’ accounts at a particular time is an injustice.”
The Express Tribune further quoted Qayyum as saying, “All political parties are using social media to spread their message. Voters are being attracted by posters and video messages but the MML has been denied this facility without any reason.”
In his recent statements, Zuckerberg highlighted that after identification the of Russian interference in the 2016 US Presidential elections, Facebook has deployed new Artificial Intelligence tools to removed tens of thousands of fake accounts.