Earlier, Journalist Awesh Tiwari, posted a review in Hindi, summarizing a fresh report by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). To explain, the report highlighted the growing intimacy between the Indian Facebook executive and Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP). Explicitly, it reports that a higher official of Facebook in India had contradicted the application of the company’s hate-speech; rules for a member of the ruling party.
The report revealed that some posts from the members of the BJP and batches which have a similar ideology stood identified as “promoting or participating in violence”. However, Indian Facebook executive, Ankhi Das asserted that punishing the politicians for contravention would in return, spoil the business prospects for the company.
The Complaint by the Indian Facebook Executive
Following this, the social media exploded with denouncing comments from users. On one hand, Facebook was condemned for imparting political favoritism; while on the other, the opposition parties also raised their voices.
Furthermore, Das has filed a criminal complaint against Journalist Tiwari and some Facebook users. This act seems like a response to the report by the Journalist. Explicitly, in her complaint to the cyber unit of Delhi police, she stated that Tiwari’s posts insulted and intimidated her; that he made sexually coloured remarks.
Did Tiwari really insult the Indian Facebook Executive?
As per the law, all accused by the Facebook executive, can be fined and imprisoned for a period of two to seven years; if found guilty of the charges.
However, Journalist Tiwari’s post simply recapitulates the report by Wall Streets Journal. In addition, the report mentions some background information on Ankhi Das which is available in the public realm. The Journalist saw Das’s action to be suppressing his freedom of speech.
Tiwari further told that he had received 11 phone calls from strangers who threatened him with lawsuits, physical harm and imprisonment, as soon as the Facebook executive alleged him.
On behalf of the Journalist, the Committee to Protect Journalists asked Ankhi Das to take her complaint back and also to respect the citizens right to freedom of speech.
Facebook’s Stance on the Case
Facebook India’s head, Ajit Mohan, claims that the WSJ’s article on the company is inaccurate and without any merit. Further, few employees of the same company were reported to have drafted a letter asking Facebook to censure “anti-Muslim bigotry” posts from BJP politicians, as these actions by politicians have been defended by Ankhi Das.
Facebook, has undoubtedly, not fulfilled its commitment to uphold freedom of speech. Moreover, the company is yet to release a strong proof to counter the WSJ’s report. Meanwhile, in its latest comment, the company has stated that it is making progress on enforcement and conduct regular audits.