In developing countries, Facebook’s influence is worse than in the United States

In India and in other countries of the South, the group of Mark Zuckerberg sees its various platforms being used for the propagation of hate speech and incitement to violence. The resources it engages in combating them are, however, limited and much inferior to those mobilized in the United States.

“How Facebook has neglected the rest of the world, fueling hate speech and violence in India”, title The Washington Post. “In India, Facebook’s problems are further amplified”, title on his side The New York Times. Facebook platforms are used to spread religious hatred in India, according to internal documents ”, announcement The Wall Street Journal.

On October 23 and 24, these three major US newspapers concomitantly published revelations on Facebook, based once again on documents provided by whistleblower Frances Haugen. This time, it is the role of social networks and messaging under the control of Mark Zuckerberg outside the United States that is highlighted. Particularly in India, where Facebook has some 340 million users and WhatsApp over 400 million. The Indian part of the “Facebook Files” had already been explored by the Indian news site The Wire, taken back by International mail.

“In February 2019 […] two Facebook employees created a fake account to better understand a new user’s experience in their largest market. They configured the profile of a 21 year old woman, living in northern India, and followed what appeared on her thread ”, relate The Washington Post. In a context marked by violence in Kashmir and against people from this border region with Pakistan, where the Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi has since imposed a brutal repression, “The account was suddenly inundated with pro-Modi propaganda and anti-Muslim rhetoric.”

Most of the resources go to the United States

These employees produced an alarming internal memo, one of the “Dozens of studies and notes written by Facebook employees on the platform’s effects in India”, writing The New York Times. Documents that corroborate a frequent criticism of Facebook: the network “Settles in a country without fully understanding the impact it could have on its culture and political life; and when problems arise, he does not commit the necessary resources to deal with them ”.

In fact, the newspaper points out, 87% of the company’s budget for spotting disinformation goes to the United States, compared to just 13% for the rest of the world. A Facebook spokesperson says these figures do not take into account the group’s subcontractors for verifying

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Gabriel Hassan