Because Facebook operates in basically every country around the world, it has to moderate content for thousands of languages and cultures. And if that task wasn’t already hard enough, the company also routinely faces pressure from repressive governments that want to spread misinformation, hate speech, and other forms of dangerous content to users. According to a recent report in The Washington Post, that’s exactly what happened in India — and Facebook allegedly allowed it to happen.
Three years ago, Facebook uncovered a propaganda network of fake users spreading misinformation and inciting violence in India. However, the platform was reluctant to take action. A former Facebook leader specializing in extremism criticized the company for bowing to pressure from the Indian government for monetary reasons.
“All of the hard questions around tech come to a head in India. It is a huge market, it is a democracy, but it is a democracy with weak judicial protections, and it’s really geopolitically important,” former Facebook leader Brian Fishman told The Washington Post. “We’re moving into an era around the globe where governments have gotten off their hands and built legal frameworks, and in some cases extralegal frameworks, that allow them to directly pressure the companies.”
Of course, Facebook has many policies in place designed to prevent this sort of thing from happening. However, whether the company follows its own rules is sometimes an open question.
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