India starts probe into Facebook’s algorithm, seeks info on moderation process

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India starts probe into Facebook’s algorithm, seeks info on moderation process
Mark ZuckerbergBCCL
  • Facebook is once again under the scanner by the Indian government.
  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has started a probe into the company’s algorithms.
  • A letter has been sent to Facebook India, seeking information on its moderation process.
Social media giant Facebook has once again come under the scanner in India. The Indian government has reportedly started a probe after documents leaked by whistleblower Frances Haugen revealed alleged discrepancies in algorithmic recommendations.

As per an ET report, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has sent a letter to Ajit Mohan, Facebook India’s managing director (MD) seeking information from the American tech giant on the processes followed by it to moderate content on its platform

The ministry has also sought information about the methods employed to prevent harm to online users.

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The investigation was started due to allegations that Facebook’s systems can fuel hate speech and promote fake news.

As per the source cited in the above report, the government was alarmed by the ‘India experiment’, where a dummy user’s feed was filled with hate speech and fake news just three weeks after opening a new account on the platform.

“The government has asked for information about the algorithm that Facebook is using for content moderation and how they are preventing online harms, which are being caused by this kind of content,” claimed the source.

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The government will reportedly further investigate based on the company’s response. It is also possible that executives from the company may be called to explain how their algorithm works.

“The government has also questioned Facebook on the due diligence that is prescribed under the IT Rules and how they prevent harm,” added the source.

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