Facebook a non-partisan platform, says India head Ajit Mohan amid political row

Facebook is a non-partisan platform which denounces hate and bigotry, said the company`s India head Ajit Mohan on Friday amid the controversy that the social media giant opposed to applying hate speech rules for India’s ruling party.

Facebook is and always has been an open, transparent, and non-partisan platform where people can express themselves freely. Over the last few days, we have been accused of bias in the way we enforce our policies. We take allegations of bias incredibly seriously, and want to make it clear that we denounce hate and bigotry in any form,” Facebook India Vice President and Managing Director Ajit Mohan said in a blog post.

Facebook and its public policy executive Ankhi Das have been in the news since the controversy broke out after WSJ Reported that she had been lenient towards some BJP politicians and Hindu nationalist individuals and groups who had called Muslims traitors in their Facebook posts because BJP being the ruling party it would ‘damage the company’s business.’ India contributes the maximum users for Facebook. 

“The decisions around content escalations are not made unilaterally by just one person … the process comes with robust checks and balances,” Facebook`s India head, Ajit Mohan, wrote in an online post titled “We are open, transparent and non-partisan”.

In an internal open letter to Facebook`s leadership, 11 employees demanded that company leaders acknowledge and denounce “anti-Muslim bigotry” and ensure more policy consistency. One source had said there was a debate happening internally at Facebook about content moderation processes.

“We take allegations of bias incredibly seriously, and want to make it clear that we denounce hate and bigotry in any form,” Mohan said in the post. “We have removed and will continue to remove content posted by public figures in India when it violates our Community Standards.”

Facebook has never faced any kind of issue in India. However, Facebook has been s political fallout in India in recent days. The opposition Congress Party criticized Facebook for its policies, while some ruling-party lawmakers have accused it of censoring nationalist voices.

However, Facebook never compromises with its guidelines. It removes an account or page from its website with immediate effect If it finds any irrelevant content which breaches company policy. Facebook has maintained its policy in India for many years. Facebook has not done anything which has violated India’s policy.

Facebook has been summoned to appear on September 2 before the information technology panel of Parliament, which considers issues like social media abuse. The discussion with Facebook will last for 30 minutes, according to a notice published late on Thursday.

Writer, historian, and activist Dharam Sikarwar is a very active author The Youth. He writes on national and international issues, environment, politics. He is an avid book reader as well.