India Genocide Watch, a Washington DC-based NGO, on Sunday organized a protest against Facebook’s role in propelling anti-Muslim violence and hate speech by Hindu extremist groups in India.
A large number of people from all walks of life gathered across eight cities in the US over Saturday and Sunday, in view of the increasing attacks on the Muslim community in India. The protest consisted of a few speakers, who demanded that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg end his company’s complicity in extreme Hindu right-wing incitement to violence, as exposed by whistleblower Frances Haugen.
Protest demonstrations, which also included women and children, were held in Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte, Houston, Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, and San Francisco’s Menlo Park, where Facebook is headquartered. A few of the protesters stated that they can not return to India and have their families in India who are vulnerable to state-sponsored violence.
Speakers Condemn Facebook Inaction on Hate Speech
Condemning Facebook’s inability to curb the use of the platform for promotion of hate speeches, Rasheed Ahmed, Executive Director of the Indian American Muslim Council, stated, “We demand that Facebook be designated as dangerous for ignoring the hate spread by organizations such as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, its Nazi-inspired ideological parent Rashtriya Swayamasevak Sangh and their armed affiliates, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal.”
Javid Ali, the representative of Bay Muslims for Human Rights, said, “Facebook deliberately and knowingly refused to block Islamophobic hate enabling fascist violence against India’s Muslims. Facebook has blood on its hands.” added Karthic of Ambedkar King Study Circle, “The algorithms used in Facebook are biased against the religious minorities and the socially oppressed. We condemn Facebook for failing to fix these proven issues.”
The organizers also alleged that political parties in India were using the platform to spread hate speech, which could be understood from facebook’s ex-employee and whistleblower who raised questions over facebook’s role in the rising hate crime against minorities in India. It is to be noted that, Frances Haugen and Facebook’s own internal documents have revealed, the vast RSS-BJP network is running fake pages and deliberately spreading misinformation, hate speech, and incitement to violence, abetted by Facebook’s algorithms.
It is also be noted that India is also the largest market for Facebook, including 340 million Facebook accounts and 400 million WhatsApp users. The social media giant has increasingly prioritized business interests in India, failing to act against the tsunami of hate and violence enabled by its platforms.
According to reports from various reputed newspapers, including the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times among others alleged that Facebook was stalling India’s report, regarding the country’s actions against hate speech being spread on the platform.