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Facebook accepts India’s content moderation as “legitimate scrutiny”

Facebook says it received 40,300 govt requests for user data in the second half of 2020
Facebook has described India’s move to tighten policy and rules around content moderation as a “legitimate scrutiny” and says it respects Indian laws.


Facebook accepts India’s content moderation as “legitimate scrutiny”

Facebook has described India’s move to tighten policy and rules around content moderation as a “legitimate scrutiny”. The social media platform said it respects Indian laws as regulatory steps are initiated against hateful, violent and unlawful messaging and posts.

It said it will take action against unlawful content in line with its own community standards and also as per the Indian laws. Ajit Mohan, MD of Facebook India, told in an interview, as per TOI, that the platform is absolutely respectful of local laws. “For me, it is not either-or. The fact that we respect local laws is a given, and is non-negotiable.”

Mohan said Facebook and its group platforms are alive to the menance of inflammatory and unlawful content. “We are constantly trying to raise the bar in terms of making sure that we address the concerns, including those we have heard from governments from around the world and India, on the kind of content that is on our platforms. We want to limit and eliminate content linked to violence, or content linked to hate speech, or content that calls for violence on the ground. Our agenda is aligned.”

Furthermore, he pointed out that there is enhanced scrutiny on the role of tech companies, not just in India, but around the world. He acknowledged the fact that platforms have to strike a balance between free speech and safety which is an extremely complex issue.

“Both are important agendas for a company like ours, and a country like ours. And yet, in many ways, we are trying to understand. It’s a hard one. We want to make sure that the canvas of free speech is as expansive as possible including what is outlined in the Indian constitution. At the same time, there will be places where there are limits to that speech, for example when it comes to hate speech.”

Ravi Shankar Prasad, the IT and Law Minister, had said that the measure was initiated to ensure that there is no misuse and abuse on the platforms. The new rules also direct the companies to take down any unlawful content on the request of government, or the orders of a court, in a span of 36 hours.

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Mohan said its not in the platform’s interests for that kind of content to float around. “Its not good for us, and its not good for our users, or for business. So, there is alignment on this agenda. And we want to make sure that the internet remains a safe platform for doing business while still reducing or eliminating the minority of users and behaviours that violate local laws or violate community standards.”



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