Facebook Fears Ban on Bajrang Dal May Backfire on Its Staff and Business in India

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The security team had flagged the outfit as a “dangerous organisation” that supported violence against minorities in India

Team Clarion 

NEW DELHI — Facebook did not act on the recommendations of its security team to ban Bajrang Dal, a Hindu nationalist outfit, citing possibility of business loss and threat of physical violence against its staff, New York-based daily Wall Street Journal said in a report on Sunday.

According to the report, the recommendation of the security team to ban the militant youth wing of the Vishva Hindu Parishad from the platform came after a video was released by the Bajrang Dal claiming responsibility for the attack on a church outside Delhi.

Bajrang Dal, a far-right Hindu group known for its vigilantism, is considered as the youth arm of the Sangh Parivar, the amalgam of Hindu nationalist organisations, including the Bharatiya Janata Party which currently rules India.

The security team had flagged the outfit as a “dangerous organisation” that supported violence against minorities in India but Facebook refrained from banning it due to political and business considerations.

India is one of the biggest markets for Facebook and any action against the pro-government voices may have financial ramifications.

This is not the first time that Facebook has landed in a controversy. Earlier in August this year, Wall Street Journal reported that the social media platform’s policies were allegedly biased and favoured the ruling BJP due to business interests.

In its report, the paper had said that the head of Facebook’s Public Policy in India, Ankhi Das, had lobbied in favour of the ruling party and one of its leaders despite hate posts by the latter on the platform.

Facebook had denied the allegations but it went on to ban the politician, while Ankhi Das quit the company in October this year.

The latest report has sparked a debate in India with many raising questions over Facebook claims of independence.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said in a Tweet that the revelations were a further confirmation that BJP and RSS control Facebook in India.

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