Facebook says micromanaging every single post is not the best regulatory approach to fighting hate speech

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December 15, 2020 6:42 PM

Facebook in the past has been criticised for how it manages posts in India, that is one of its biggest markets with 400 million people using one of its platforms.

Facebook, Facebook India, Facebook handling hate messages, facebook event, Nick Clegg, Vice-President for Global Affairs and Communications, MD facebook india Ajit Mohan,Facebbok organized two 2-day virtual 'Fuel for India' event. (Reuters Image)

Facebook has often come under fire for having failed to do enough to curb the menace of fake news and hate speech on its platform. A lot of this stems from the wide, expansive nature of the so-called social media, and Facebook’s commitment to giving “an open, neutral and non-partisan” platform to its 2.5 billion users around the world means filtering out content might be easier said than done. That is not to say that Facebook has not been trying to fix this though, ‘micromanaging’ each line of content or every single post is not the ideal way out, Nick Clegg, Vice-President for Global Affairs and Communications at Facebook said on Tuesday during the company’s 2-day virtual Fuel for India event.

Clegg said that no regulatory approach should be so stringent that it “hinders the way in which the international economy now relies on international data flows” and a sensible approach will be to have a means that holds social media platforms like Facebook “accountable to the systems and the policies that they have in place.”

Facebook in the past has been criticised for how it manages posts in India, that is one of its biggest markets with 400 million people using one of its platforms. Facebook India vice-president and MD, Ajit Mohan in the same keynote as Clegg said that with thousands of people using the platform to share their lives, thoughts, experiences, only a ‘tiny fraction’ puts up hateful content. He further added that they take the responsibility of recognising such content seriously.

Mohan, hopeful about India’s digital transformation, said it is slowly changing lives, creating opportunities and ushering new models of innovation for the world. “One in two Indians own a smartphone today, more than half the population has access to the internet, and data costs are amongst the lowest in the world. As the world’s largest democracy, with an open and boundaryless internet, India’s transformation is one of hope and immense possibility,” he further noted.

Mohan also expressed excitement about partnering with Jio as a “canvas of opportunities” that will bring billions to the country, Jio and Facebook entered a Rs 43,574 crore deal in April.

Clegg meanwhile said that Facebook uses AI systems to proactively restrict hate speech in 45 languages globally and in 98.99 per cent time the content is removed even bore some reports about it. Facebook will also soon have an OverSight board that can overrule the Facebook decision of taking down content when a user appeals fir it, he announced. However, he called having an India specific guidelines a ‘complex issue’ as people will have conflicting views about what should be on Facebook and what should be taken down.

Facebook ‘Fuel fir India 202’ event also had other influential speakers including CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Reliance Industries Chairperson Mukesh Ambani, Will Cathcart, Head of WhatsApp; Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp India

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