37% of Hate Speech, Misinformation on Facebook is Islamophobic

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California: An analysis by a South Asian-American human rights and technology research organisation shows that the maximum amount of hate speech, about 37 per cent, on Facebook in India is linked to Islamophobia, an Indian Express report said.

Facebook, in its response to the report, said that the company has made significant progress in proactively detecting hate speech before anyone reports it. It also said that it seeks to protect the rights of minorities and communities that are often marginalised.“We recognise, respect, and seek to protect the rights of minorities and communities that are often marginalised, both in India and around the world. We have clear rules against hate speech, which we define as attacks against people on the basis of their protected characteristics, including caste, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity.”

“We take this extremely seriously and remove this content as soon as we become aware of it. To do this, we have invested in staff in India, including content reviewers, with local language capabilities and an understanding of the country’s longstanding historical and social tensions,” the Facebook spokesperson said in an email statement.

After islamophobic content, there comes fake news, pertaining to 16 percent of hate speech and content that can be classified as casteist and gender/sexuality related hate speech – both making up 13 percent each, the report said. Anti-religious minorities content, excluding Islamophobia, accounted to 9 percent of hate speech on the platform.

The study quoted by The Indian Express, named ‘Facebook India: Towards The Tipping Point of Violence Caste and Religious Hate Speech’ was conducted by US based Equality Labs. It says that homophobic content is so widely prevalent on Facebook that it had to be tracked in its own category, separate from all other hate speech content.

It examined more than 1,000 posts in six Indian languages over a period of four months.

The study also points to Facebook’s moderation failure, saying that 93 percent of the hate speech content is still on the platform.

(With inputs from The Indian Express)

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