Facebook bans BJP MLA Raja Singh over hate speech row
By Vivek Raj | Galatta | Sep 03, 2020, 01:47 pm
Telangana Bharatiya Janata Party MLA T Raja Singh has been banned on Facebook after allegations against the social networking giant for not applying their hate speech rules on members of the governing BJP. Mr Singh was found to have violated Facebook's policy on content that was in line with promoting hate and violence.
In an statement, a Facebook spokesperson said, "We have banned Raja Singh from Facebook for violating our policy prohibiting those that promote or engage in violence and hate from having a presence on our platform.", while adding the evaluation process on potential violators "is extensive and it is what led us to Facebook's decision to remove his account".
In a Twitter video posted last month, T Raja Singh claimed that he is not on Facebook or holds any official page account. "I have got to know many FB pages are using my name. Let me clarify I'm not having any official page, I'm not responsible for any of their posts," he had stated. Mr Singh also added that his official Facebook account got "hacked and blocked in 2018" and had renounced posts on the social networking forum that were communally-loaded.
Mr Singh's video tweeted on August 16 has him saying he was being "projected in such a way that I am the most dangerous in the entire world (like) when he (Raja Singh) says something on social media, then something or the other happens." He had also made claims that he had only one official YouTube account and one official Twitter account.
In a report published by The Wall Street Journal, it quoted present and former employees claiming that Facebook India executive Ankhi Das had stepped in to bring a halt on a permanent ban on Raja Singh after allegations popped up alleging he had posted divisive content, which she reportedly stated would damage "business prospects" in India. In response, Mr Singh denied any role in the inflammatory posts and issued a challenge to prove him of being the cause for the social conflict.
Officials from Facebook appeared before a parliamentary panel on Wednesday led by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and were questioned about allegations of political bias. During the meeting which lasted over two hours, Facebook officials were asked to cite the instances where they had resorted to action against hate speech. Mr Singh's alleged posts on Facebook too were pointed out by members of the Opposition during the meeting. For a while now, Facebook has come been facing strong backlash from Opposition political parties in India over its handling extremist content.