For Free And Fair 2019 Lok Sabha Polls, Facebook Sets Up Task Force To Target Hate Speech

| October 7 , 2018 , 13:15 IST

Ahead of the 2019 General Elections in India, social networking giant Facebook on Saturday said that it will set up a task force to target hate speech, while still encouraging engagement between people and political leaders on its platform for 'free and fair election'.

Facebook is planning to have around 20,000 people working on different aspects such as automation tools, security and content review to check hate speech.

Facebook Vice President for Public Policy EMEA Richard Allan emphasised that they want Facebook to support free and fair elections.

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"We want our platform to support free and fair election and positive civic engagement. We welcome people to engage with their political leaders but we don't want people to abuse that," Allan said.

"When we see elections coming up, obviously India is top of mind, biggest democracy in the world, so we have a task force working on that -security specialist, content specialist. We are trying to understand what is possible form of abuse in India versus UK versus any other country," he said.

"We have a general policy that applies all across the world. As we have looked issues in different country, one of the things that came out was that there is a view that hate speech is directed against people in India, in particular, and Indians outside India also. They may direct hate speech against each other on the basis of caste," Allan said.

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"When we got an election coming up, we will pull together specialists to work with political parties to understand... we will pull together security specialists. We will pull together people from our community operations team to check the standards are working well," he said.

"What the task force is trying to do is to make sure we don't miss things (abusive content) because we have seen in the past that we have missed things. In the run-up to US elections, there were things happening on the service issue, we didn't respond. It is really about making sure, in Indian context, in particular, we are not missing things," Allan said.

Facebook has been criticised in the past for spreading hate speech and manipulating views of the public, especially during elections.