Senior BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has written a letter to FaceBook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, apprising him of the apparent bias in fact-checking agencies
Bengaluru: Senior BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has written a letter to FaceBook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, apprising him of the apparent bias in fact-checking agencies.
He has educated him on how there are chances of inherent likes and dislikes playing a role in this aspect.
“I have been informed that in the run-up to 2019 General Elections in India, there was a concerted effort by Facebook India management to not just delete pages or substantially reduce their reach but also offer no recourse or right of appeal to affected people who are supportive of the right-of-centre ideology. I am also aware that dozens of emails written to Facebook management received no response. The above-documented cases of bias and inaction are seemingly a direct outcome of the dominant political beliefs of individuals in your Facebook India team.”
He stressed on the importance of fairness.
“As a transnational digital platform, Facebook must not only be fair and neutral, but also visibly seen to be so, to users of diverse beliefs and ideologies. Individuals working in any organization may have their individual likes or dislikes, but that must not have any bearing on the public policies and performance of the organization.”
He rued how there is apparent bias in the entire system.
“It seems from credible media reports that Facebook India team, right from the India Managing Director to other senior officials, is dominated by people who belong to a particular political belief. People from this political predisposition have been overwhelmingly defeated by the people of in successive free and fair elections. After having lost all democratic legitimacy, they are trying to discredit India’s democratic process by dominating the decision-making apparatus of important social media platforms. Facebook is the latest tool in their arsenal to stoke internal divisions and social disturbances.”
He added, “It is problematic when Facebook employees are on record abusing the Prime Minister and senior Cabinet Ministers of India while still working in Facebook India and managing important positions. It is doubly problematic when the bias of individuals becomes an inherent bias of the platform. And it is unacceptable when political biases of individuals impinge on the freedom of speech of millions of people.”
He pointed out the issue with fact-checkers. He said, “A major issue with Facebook is the outsourcing of fact-checking to third party fact-checkers. How can Facebook absolve itself of its responsibility to protect users from misinformation and instead out-source this to shady organizations with no credibility? We have seen in India that right from the assessors for on-boarding fact-checkers to the fact-checkers themselves harbour publicly expressed political biases. Regularly vigilant volunteers on social media have to fact-check the fact-checkers! Even after onboarding so many fact-checkers, lot of misinformation related to COVID-19 and its aftermath went unchecked. How can an organisation like Facebook be oblivious to these realities?”
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Last Updated Sep 1, 2020, 7:27 PM IST