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Numerous Facebook Groups Promote Indian Muslim Genocide: Netherlands Report

The study titled ‘Preachers of Hate: Documenting Hate Speech on Facebook India’ was released by The London Story (TLS) on Friday, on the day when Facebook’s Parent organisation Meta released its human rights report

Waquar Hasan |Clarion India

NEW DELHI – There are extensive fan page networks in India which are using Facebook to “widely amplify hate speech and calls to violence and genocide against Indian Muslims”, found a study done by Netherlands-based watchdog.

The study titled ‘Preachers of Hate: Documenting Hate Speech on Facebook India’ was released by The London Story (TLS) on Friday, on the day when Facebook’s Parent organisation Meta released its human rights report.

“With almost 350 million users, India is Facebook’s largest user market. Yet, Meta has blatantly failed to address hate content and hateful actors targeting religious minorities in India,” noted the TLS report.

Reacting to Meta’s human rights report, the TLS accused the social media platform of hiding its human rights impact in India.
 “As expected @meta tried to hide its HR (human rights) impact in India behind a global report and in a 4-page summary. Meta calls these impacts to be ‘Salient’ and committed by a ‘third-party’,” said the TLS in a series of tweets.

“We want to categorically say that these are the adverse human rights impacts of Meta’s product and relationships in India,” it added.

The TLS report monitored 634 Facebook pages and focused on the fan page network supporting Ghaziabad priest Yati Narsinghanand, Suresh Chavhanke (and Sudarshan News Network) and Pushpendra Kulshrestha.

The report found that these fan pages are used “as tools in an unprecedented manner to inciting violence and rallying vigilante mobs”.
“The prolonged presence of both the actors and their fan clubs on Facebook underscores Meta’s inability to regulate its platforms even in the face of an impending genocide,” it added.

Between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2021, the monitored fan pages received a total of 160 million interactions, with 48.7K interactions on average daily.

“Pages within the actor-fan network consistently show a surge in interaction for inflammatory content,” noted the report.

The report found a persistent growth of these pages even as they post calls to violence and genocide that translate into real-life atrocities and human rights violations.

The report categorised the dangerous content shared through these pages into three categories. 1. Mobilizing Hindus against Muslims, 2. Xenophobic content against Muslims, and 3. Calls for elimination of Muslims.

The first category includes calls for Hindus to join speakers in the fight against Muslims, to buy weapons, and content glorifying violence for the sake of the “Hindu Rashtra” (Hindu nation).

The second category constructs Indian Muslims as a threat to the Hindu population, dehumanises and ridicules the Indian Muslim community using labels such as “land jihadis” and “love jihadis”, and antagonises Muslims, with one video claiming that “Islam is not a religion; Islam is a gang of organised criminals”.

The third kind of dangerous content includes threats to and blatant calls for genocide against Muslims. These include videos of public speeches of which the police has taken criminal cognisance for incitement to violence.

The report pointed out that the content and activities on these pages fall under the content prohibited under Meta’s community. However, Facebook failed to enforce its community standards against them.

“According to our study @Meta consistently failed to respect its user’s dignity by allowing spaces where pictures and addresses of inter-faith couples were widely circulated leading to their doxing,” said the TLS.

“This report and its findings were directly shared with @Metaby us and  @SumOfUs. Meta’s official failed to provide a clear and reliable answer or hold public discussions despite pointing out that we have also communicated this research earlier to Foley Hoag for #HRIA,” the group added.

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