Facebook has banned an Indian politician from prime minister Narendra Modi's ruling party for violating its rules on hate speech
- Facebook has banned a right-wing politician in India with a history of Islamophobic comments for violating its rules on promoting violence and hate.
- The politician, T Raja Singh, is a member of prime minister Narendra Modi's ruling party, the BJP.
- Facebook's attitude to Singh and other right-wing figures has been at the center of a political debate following a report last month that a Facebook exec in India opposed applying hate-speech rules to Singh on the grounds it might harm the company's business interests.
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Facebook has taken the decision to ban an Indian politician and member of the ruling party with a history of Islamophobic comments on the grounds that he violated the platform's rules on inciting hatred and violence.
T Raja Singh is a member of Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and in the past has said Rohingya Muslims should be shot, called Muslim Indians traitors, and advocated for the destruction of mosques.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Facebook said it had banned Singh from its platforms, including Instagram. "We have banned Raja Singh from Facebook for violating our policy prohibiting those that promote or engage in violence and hate from having a presence on our platform. The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove his account," a Facebook spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider.
Per the Times of India, Singh responded to the ban by saying he hasn't used Facebook since April 2019, and requested he be allowed to make a new Facebook account. He also claimed his account was hacked in 2018.
Facebook's approach to Singh has become the center of intense political debate in India following an explosive Wall Street Journal report last month. Facebook India employees told The Journal, the company's head of public policy in India Ankhi Das had resisted applying Facebook's "dangerous individual" rules to Singh because it could damage the company's business interests in India. The employees said this was part of a wider trend of "favoritism" towards the BJP and Hindu nationalist figures.
Facebook's top exec in India Ajit Mohan was called to testify for two hours before a parliamentary panel on Wednesday to answer questions on political bias within the company. Reuters reports lawmakers laid into the tech giant for failing to take down inflammatory posts from accounts linked to the BJP.
Conversely the BJP has also accused Facebook of anti-conservative bias. The BJP's minister for communications, electronics and information technology Ravi Shankar Prasad wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday claiming there were instances of "bias and inaction" on Facebook towards people with "right of center ideology." He also accused Facebook employees of "abusing" Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Facebook's policies on how it applies its moderation rules to political figures has come under intense fire this year. It announced in February it would not fact-check political ads, and in May it left a post from President Trump which Twitter placed behind a warning for violating its rules on "glorifying violence"
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