Facebook, in a bid to scrutinise its role in spreading hate speech and incitement to violence, has commissioned an independent inquiry on its impact on human rights in India, TIME magazine reported.
The investigation will be conducted by United States-based law firm Foley Hoag. It would include interviews with civil society members and senior company staff in India, people aware of the development told the magazine. Facebook did not confirm the report.
The report which would be published, would be on the lines of the one released in 2018, detailing Facebook’s failings on hate speech that contributed to the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar the previous year.
However, it is to be noted that, the independent probe was commissioned before the Wall Street Journal published an article on the social media giant allegedly not subjecting some posts by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader to its hate speech rules as it “would damage the company’s business prospects in the country".
It was earlier reported that Facebook’s Oversight Board will investigate the controversy. The board, which was established after a series of controversies including the one involving Cambridge Analytica, will begin operations in few months. The group is empowered to make binding decisions on Facebook and Instagram’s most challenging content issues.
The piece by TIME cites activists who have monitored and reported hate speech by Hindu nationalists for years, as saying that they believe Facebook “has been reluctant to police posts by members and supporters of the BJP because it doesn’t want to pick fights with the government that controls its largest market.”The Mark Zuckerberg-led company has denied these allegations and has said that it prohibits hate speech and content that incites violence. In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson said the company enforces policies globally without regard to anyone's political position or affiliation.