Zuckerberg Cites Kapil Mishra’s Infamous Speech to Explain Incitement to Violence

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. — AFP via Getty Images

To explain how government officials can use Facebook to incite violence, Zuckerberg cited the example of the speech of Bhartiya Janta Party leader Kapil Mishra made in late February in Delhi to incite his supporters to target anti-CAA protesters.

Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – When US President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter “When the looting starts, the shooting starts”, the social media giant marked the tweet as “glorification of violence”.

The protests and police violence that gripped the United States has triggered a debate over how social media should react to the content by politicians inciting violence. While Twitter has shown courage by flagging warnings on the tweets of arguably the most powerful person on earth, Facebook has so far adopted a laid back approach to the issue.

However, under pressure, Facebook, on Tuesday, held a virtual meeting to discuss how to deal with the politics of violence and free speech. The script of the speech by CEO of the company Mark Zuckerberg leaked online. It has been published by Vox.com. The humongous meeting was attended by 25,000 employees of social networking site.

To explain how government officials can use Facebook to incite violence, Zuckerberg cited the example of the speech of Bhartiya Janta Party leader Kapil Mishra made in late February in Delhi to incite his supporters to target anti-CAA protesters.

Delhi BJP leader Kapil Mishra gave the infamous speech on the day President Donald Trump was in New Delhi meeting top government officials.  — Source: Twitter/Kapil Mishra

Zackurberg, without naming Mishra, said: “There have been cases in India, for example, where someone said, “Hey, if the police don’t take care of this, our supporters will get in there and clear the streets.”

He used this example to make his point that Facebook was clear about the exhortative nature of the speech and took that down. “That is kind of encouraging supporters to go do that in a more direct way, and we took that down. So, we have a precedent for that.”

Mishra gave the infamous speech on the day President Donald Trump was in New Delhi meeting top government officials. He asked his supporters to clear the streets of anti-CAA protesters who were holding sit-ins at different places in Delhi.

In a video that went viral on social media, Mishra could be seen giving three days to police to take action against the protesters. “Till the US President is in India, we are leaving the area peacefully. After that, we won’t listen to you (police) if the roads are not vacated by then.”

The video showed Mishra being flanked by his supporters and a helmeted police officer.

However, violence broke out soon with mobs running amok in the neighbourhoods of the northeastern part of the National Capital. In violence and arson over 50 people – majority of them Muslim – while scores of homes, shops and vehicles gutted.

While Mishra’s speech may be a global case study to explain the use of content for incitement to violence, back home the police are under criticism for letting the “rabble rouser” of the ruling party go scot-free while students and activists are being jailed.

The CEO of the social media company cited the example of a legislator in Hong Kong who appealed to the police to “kill the protesters to restore order in society. You know, that was — that’s obviously inciting and calling for violence. We took that down,” he said.

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