After facing scrutiny from politicians across the spectrum for its alleged inaction towards hate speech propagators on its platform, Facebook has finally banned the BJP MLA from Telangana, T Raja Singh, who has been at the center of the allegations placed against the company. The ban was levied on grounds of violating the social media platform’s policy of ‘promotion of hate and violence’.
Moreover, Facebook has also barred the MLA from its other services such as Instagram and all groups, pages and accounts set up to represent him will be deleted. The company went as far as to list him under ‘dangerous individuals and organizations policy’.
This comes after the Wall Street Journal had reported earlier that a Facebook executive, Ankhi Das, had ignored to take any actions against the ruling party leader in India for promoting communal hate speech. The article said Das cited loss to business prospects as a reason. This article was then shared by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, which caused the matter to erupt into something far bigger. Since then, there have been several lawsuits, arguments from both sides and even a parliamentary hearing.
T Raja Singh had earlier claimed on Twitter that he does not own any official Facebook pages and that his official Facebook account was ‘hacked and blocked in 2018’. He also refused to own up to the communal content posted on Facebook, where something along the lines of ‘Shoot rohingya muslim immigrants’ was said.
A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement, “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”. He added, “the process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove his account”.
The company’s officials were summoned before a parliamentary panel led by Dr. Shashi Tharoor, on Wednesday to testify against the allegations being placed against it. Even Information and Technology minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad wrote a letter to Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg, alleging the company of political leanings and suppressing right-wing opinions on the platform.
However, the public opinion is currently against Facebook, which has been given the status of ‘co accused’ in the Delhi riots. This, if proven true, will be the biggest hit against the platform’s reputation since Cambridge Analytica.