T Raja Singh, an MLA from the ruling party BJP has been banned by Facebook for violating their policy on content promoting hate and violence, said a spokesperson of the social media giant.
The lone BJP MLA from Telangana is in the centre of a row over social media giant Facebook’s policy on hate speeches.
In a statement to PTI, a Facebook spokesperson said, “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 to Facebook’s decision to remove his account, according to the statement.
‘Makes no sense’
Meanwhile, T Raja has said that banning him ‘doesn’t make sense’ as he is not on Facebook. Taking to Twitter, he said, “I’ve rec’d news through media that I’ve been banned by @Facebook for the so-called controversial speeches of mine. I’d like to clarify that I’ve not been using FB since April 2019. So, banning me makes no sense”
I’ve rec’d news through media that I’ve been banned by @Facebook for the so-called controversial speeches of mine
I’d like to clarify that I’ve not been using FB since April 2019
So, banning me makes no sense
— Raja Singh (@TigerRajaSingh) September 3, 2020
He attached the link to his earlier Twitter posts where he has complained regarding his account getting hacked in 2018.
My official Facebook Verified page has been hacked. I have given a written complaint to cyber crime department of @hydcitypolice look into this matter at the earliest. @CPHydCity @TelanganaDGP pic.twitter.com/vDflMPc49O
— Raja Singh (@TigerRajaSingh) October 8, 2018
In 2019, he Tweeted to Facebook asking the reason behind the removal of his Facebook account.
My official Facebook page has been unpublished / removed couple of days back @facebook may I know the reason.
— Raja Singh (@TigerRajaSingh) April 1, 2019
Allegations on Facebook
Facebook – which counts India among its largest markets with over 300 million users – has been in the eye of a storm after a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report alleged that Facebook’s content policies favoured the ruling party in India.
The report had alleged that Facebook had ignored posts containing hate speech by BJP MLA Raja Singh. Since then, the ruling BJP and Congress have been trading barbs over social media giant’s alleged bias.
T Raja had allegedly posted comments and made speeches saying that Rohingya Muslim refugees should be shot and Muslims were traitors. However, he had rejected allegations that he made communally loaded posts online. He asserted he only works in the national interest.
He said his official FB page had been “hacked and blocked” in 2018 but that there has been no response from the police on a complaint filed by him on the matter so far.
In a video released last month, Singh had said, “I am being projected in such a way that I am the most dangerous in the entire world (like) he (Singh) says something on social media, then something or the other happens. I would like to tell the media that I am a person who works in national interest. Cite one example where I could be blamed for any social strife,” he said.
He claimed many social media accounts have been opened across the country in his name and said it was not possible for him stop all those people.
He said he cannot be held responsible if somebody shared or posted something.
Post the ban, Singh has been designated under Facebook’s dangerous individuals and organisations policy, and he will not be allowed to maintain a presence on the platform going forward.
As a part of the process, Singh will not be allowed on Facebook or its photo and video-sharing platform Instagram. The company will remove Pages, Groups and accounts set up to represent him. However, it will continue to allow wider discussion of him, including praise and support.
Another source said the signals used by Facebook to determine dangerous individuals and organisations include whether they’ve called for or directly carried out acts of violence against people based on factors like race, ethnicity, or national origin.
Other parameters that were taken into account include checking whether they’re a self-described or identified follower of a hateful ideology; or they have used hate speech on Facebook, Instagram, or other social media sites, the source said.
To date, the company has banned a range of groups and individuals across the globe for violating this policy.
The social media giant uses a mix of technology tools and reviewers to take action against content violating its policies. In Q2 2020, it had removed over 4 million pieces of content tied to hate groups, over 96 per cent of which was removed before anyone reported it.
Parliamentary panel grills Facebook representatives
In the wake of the WSJ report, a Parliamentary panel had summoned Facebook representatives to discuss the issue of alleged misuse of the social media platform on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, Facebook’s India chief Ajit Mohan had to go through over two-hour-long intense grilling by members of a parliamentary panel which is discussing alleged misuse of social media platforms. Sources in the committee say that the members of the ruling party and opposition fired nearly 150 odd questions at the social media platform’s Managing Director in India. He replied to a few and sought time to revert back on the rest in writing.
(WIth inputs from PTI)