Facebook Hires Top Executives with Political Links, Alleges Former Employee


The deposition comes in wake of panel’s probe of the role of Facebook in triggering anti-Muslim riots of February 2020 in Delhi that claimed over 50 lives

Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India

NEW DELHI — A former senior employee of Facebook has alleged that the company gives top managerial posts to those who have “strong governmental associations or political affiliations”.

Mark Luckie, who managed Facebook’s Global Influencers section between October 2017 and November 2018, said this on Thursday while deposing before the Delhi Assembly’s Committee on Peace and Harmony chaired by AAP MLA Raghav Chadda.

Luckie, who quit the company in November 2018 over Facebook’s “black people problem”, exposed the double standards of Facebook when applying the community standards. He termed “compromised implementation” of the community standards.

The deposition comes in wake of panel’s probe of the role of Facebook in triggering anti-Muslim riots of February 2020 in Delhi that claimed over 50 lives and left hundreds homeless.

Luckie said that the riots in Delhi could have been avoided, had Facebook acted on time.

Hours before the violence erupted, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kapil Mishra gave a provocative speech in police presence exhorting his supporters to resort to vigilantism against women who had occupied a stretch of road in Delhi’s Jaffarabad area in protest against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

Mishra’s speech was streamed on Facebook and it stayed on the platform for days. Even Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said that the company would not let such hate content from politicians stay on the platform.

Subsequently, Facebook again found itself in hot water after Wallstreet Journal published an expose that revealed how Facebook’s public policy director for India, Ankhi Das, opposed the recommendations of the staff to ban BJP leader T Raja Singh from the platform permanently for writing posts that, the Facebook internal inquiry said, was found to incite violence against Muslims.

During the deposition, when Luckie was asked on interventions by executives on application of community standards, he said, “repeated interference of the top heads of Facebook on content moderating teams has led to compromising on community guidelines.”

He also alleged that Facebook lacked consistency and transparency when moderating content. “Sometimes it takes down content that is not violent at all, and sometimes extremely violent content stays up.”

He said Facebook profited from hate and divisive politics and preferred algorithms to human interventions.

Das had argued that the move would prove costly for the company businesswise in India, which, she said, was Facebook’s biggest user base globally. The report found that Das’s intervention pointed to the “broader pattern of favouritism” by the social media company towards the Hindu nationalist party.

The story triggered a massive political controversy in the country with opposition demanding answers from Facebook. The company’s India director Ajit Mohan was summoned to depose before a parliamentary panel to question him on misuse of Facebook. Later, the Delhi assembly panel also summoned Mohan but he refused to appear arguing the company was accountable before Parliament only.

Muslim rights activists across the globe appealed to Zuckerberg to remove Das. Eventually, in late October, she resigned from her position.

Luckie’s examination is a continuation of the panel’s exercise of recording depositions. The former Facebook employee alleged that even  Zuckerberg is “generally aware of such gross inaction and misappropriation” of the community standards and other policies of the company, his statement said.

Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.

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