With India’s Lok Sabha Polls set to start next week, social media giant Facebook has removed over a 1,000 pages, groups and accounts for violating Facebook’s security policies. Some of these pages are believed to have links in Pakistan.
In an official blog post, the company said that it removed around 103 pages, groups and accounts on both Facebook and Instagram for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behaviour as part of a network that originated in Pakistan.
Apart from this, the company suspended 687 Facebook Pages and accounts which showed inauthentic behaviour in India and were linked to individuals associated with an IT Cell of the Indian National Congress (INC). It also removed 15 pages, groups and accounts which had connections to an Indian IT firm, Silver Touch.
Around 321 Facebook pages and accounts in India which have broken Facebook’s rules against spam have also been taken down.
“The operations we found to be engaged in coordinated inauthentic behaviour were two distinct sets of activity in India and one network in Pakistan,” Facebook said. The company clarified that the reason behind this action was based on the suspicious account behaviour and not because of the content posted through these accounts.
Facebook’s Efforts For Safer Elections In India
The social media giant has been gearing up its efforts to discourage the use of its platform for the spread of fake news and hate speech. Since last year, Facebook has been facing global criticism for its failure to check fake content and data breaches.
In a bid to avoid any further troubles with the Indian government, the social media has been ramping up its processes, structures and services to ensure it tracks objectionable content being shared on its platform. The company also announced its plans to start an operations centre in Delhi, which will work with its offices at Menlo Park, Dublin and Singapore, on a 24×7 basis to monitor election content.
Last week, Facebook launched an exclusive feature for India – ‘Candidate Connect’ which will allow India’s Lok Sabha candidates to record their election manifesto in form of a 20 second video and share it with their constituents.
The launch of ‘Candidate Connect’ feature is based on the company’s research in the country so that people can directly hear views of candidates in their constituencies.