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Facebook to remove content that incites violence,hate speech

India has brought to FB's notice how inflammatory content created social unrest in country.

Written by Agencies | Washington |
August 22, 2012 12:37:06 pm

In the backdrop of appeals by India to remove hate posts,world’s largest social networking website Facebook today said it will remove content,block pages or even disable accounts of those users who upload contents that incite violence or perpetuate hate speech.

Comprehending the gravity,Facebook’s stern warning to its users comes in the wake of the Indian government bringing to its notice the posting of contents,including inflammatory matters and doctored pictures and videos to create social unrest in the country.

“Facebook will remove content which breaches our terms as set out in our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Content or individuals can be removed from Facebook for a variety of reasons including issuing direct calls for violence or perpetuating hate speech,” a Facebook spokesperson said.

“We have received requests from Indian authorities and agencies and are working through those requests and responding to the agencies. We encourage people to continue to use our tools to report content they are concerned about so that we can investigate and take action fast,” the spokesperson said when asked about the actions being taken by the company.

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Given the gravity of the situation,which the social networking site officials term “an emergency situation” a large number of Facebook employees are working round the clock in both India and the US to review and monitor the content and take necessary action,which the company says is part of its social responsibilities.

In fact,Facebook has already removed quite a significant number of such “inflammatory” and “hate” contents from its website and in some cases blocked pages.

However,because of the company policy and privacy reasons,its official would not quantify the number of such actions.

If any user repeatedly tries to upload such hateful content,Facebook can even disable the account,said an official requesting anonymity as he was not allowed to speak to the press on this issue.

Expressing serious concern over the current situation in India wherein people have tried to use Facebook as a tool to incite violence or spread hate,the official said Facebook has taken a number of measures to prevent this.

The company is taking a cue from its 2010 experience of riots in London wherein it closely worked with local police to prevent its website being used by hatemongers for either gathering purposes or spread rumors.

The Facebook,the official said,is “pretty aligned” with the views of the Indian government on this and have “not run into any issues” with the government.

“We understand the gravity of the situation,” the official said,adding that the company has intensified the monitoring of such content related to India.

Facebook has some 50 million users in India. Company officials urged users to remain alert on any such inflammatory or objectionable posting and keep it informed.

Govt working with social media to prevent misuse of technology: Sibal

Admitting to difficulties in identifying people using websites to spread communal hatred,the government on Wednesday said it was working with social networking sites to create an institutional mechanism to prevent misuse of technology.

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said some social networking websites have agreed to share user information with the government but there were some procedural issues involved.

“We have to make efforts in consultation with the websites and impress upon them to create an institutional mechanism to prevent misuse of technology,” he said outside Parliament.

If there was misuse of technology there should be provision for punishment,Sibal said adding no such provisions were available at present.

“Now we have to decide the steps we have to take under our laws on how we can take it forward so that we can seek help from these websites in the coming days we can identify those who have misused these website and punish them,” he said.

Sibal said some websites have refused to share user information contending that they were beyond the jurisdiction of India as their web servers were located in other countries.

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