Facebook has been facing a lot of criticism after a whistleblower Frances Haugen accepted that Facebook is “unquestionably making hate worse”. Ms Haugen was talking to MPs in London. India has been the biggest market for Facebook with 370 million (37 crore) people registered on Facebook prone to any alleged “false news propaganda” that may involve posts that “invoke religious emotions or incite fervor for any personality or cult to change the voting behaviour and perception of India’s diverse voters”.

Congess national spokesperson Pawan Khera told The Sunday Guardian, “We are worried about this country and the spread of fake news. Democracy cannot be put at ransom in the hands of a foreign company.”

Much of the problem is ascribed to the social media algorithm where the AI reads and saves one’s digital movements and choices and then suggests data from the same
genre.

 

 

For example, if a person is watching violence, another video of violence will pop up and keep the person busy at his end. The same algorithm amplifies the false news and propaganda speech, reasserting to people what they should not see, but the algorithm is such that it will force similar false news unto social media consumers. The posts which have half-baked truths, falsity and particularly excite the emotions that benefit the perpetrators of fake news, are being reiterated and shared endlessly. The spread of fake news goes through various regional languages without any verification or consultation, which makes fake news almost targeted, living in its precincts, and surviving for longer without it becoming viral outside the fold of a particular language. This restricts any immediate content control as Facebook would need larger human resource to tackle alleged “lies”.

 

The false news propaganda is used to prepare the psyche of people which influences their choices of right and wrong, “helps” them choose leaders unwisely and also “helps” them significantly in rationalising the wrongs. Khera ascribed false news propaganda to the ruling BJP and said: “We are trying to say what people within Facebook have been saying: that Facebook is emerging as a tool in the hands of the ruling party of India. It does nothing to reduce or take down posts which spread hatred and bigotry. It is furthering the agenda of the RSS and therefore undermining our democracy and by this, they are trying to influence our voting behaviour.”

 

On Monday, Khera in his press conference had made serious allegations against Facebook of supporting the ruling party of India in spreading fake news. He said: “Facebook’s alliance with BJP is not new”, and also called Facebook a “fakebook’.