Facebook affirmed yesterday that it is working with the Indian government in an attempt to remove all “hateful” content from its website. This bit of information is the latest to unfold in what has been an ongoing exercise by the government since a few days now – i.e., deleting offensive material on the Internet, potent to cause communal tension in the country. A company spokesperson was quoted as saying, “Facebook will remove content which breaches our terms as set out in our statement of rights and responsibilities. Content or individuals can be removed from Facebook for a variety of reasons, including issuing direct calls for violence or perpetuating hate speech. We have received requests from Indian authorities and agencies and are working through those requests and responding to the agencies. We encourage people to continue to use our tools to report content they are concerned about so that we can investigate and take action fast.”
Agrees to remove “hateful” content
Those following our reports regularly since this past week would know that the events are in the light of a widespread exodus of those from the northeast . Even as you read this, the government is quickly working towards shutting down more than 250 websites in the light of the North-East exodus. The Centre has come down heavily on the channels it believes are playing a role in triggering fear and leading to the exodus. It has been found that morphed images and videos were uploaded to these websites with an aim to incite the Muslim community in the country. Currently, as many as 130 websites have been blocked, and according to some Home ministry officials, the rest will follow suit soon.
Reports have also been indicating that a Pakistan-based hardline group carried out the task of doctoring the images and disseminated them through popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. A report by the Home Ministry states that the majority of the content appeared online on July 13. Reportedly, fake profiles were created to spread the morphed images.
There were reports yesterday about government warning popular micro-blogging site Twitter of legal action, after the latter failed to co-operate with its attempts to remove webpages carrying offensive content targeting those from the northeast. Reportedly, another interesting move is that the country has approached the US Department of Homeland Security to trace the origin of the inflammatory content that found its way online.
Reportedly, both Facebook and YouTube told the government that the offensive content uploaded on their sites orginated from Pakistan. An IBN Live report quoted the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEIT) as saying, “The initial response from international social networking sites indicates that such content has been hosted from outside the country and to a large extent from a neighbouring country (Pakistan).”