Facebook & the ills of online abuse

India is today a bigger market for Facebook than even the USA. Fast growth of mobile internet has played a major role in the rapid expansion of Facebook among the Indian populace – and the growth continues apace. However, as is likely with any such innovative breakthrough, it brings with it possibilities of both positive & negative impact. And a recent report from the online advocacy group Equality Labs reveals some alarming stats about Facebook in India. The popular social media platform has become a favourite tool for online abuse on religious and casteist lines.

The above clearly suggests a major gap in Facebook’s monitoring mechanism. Even more alarmingly, action on hate speech related content appears nonexistent. Procedures for reporting such abuse are extremely opaque and thus contribute to users’ confusion.

The LGBT community is a major target of hate speech as the facts reveal.

Another extremely worrying fact is return of removed posts. As such, it clearly reveals a very superficial reaction on part of Facebook to such dangerous content.

In a country like India, a platform like Facebook can be an extremely dangerous weapon in the hands of rogue elements. Facebook India needs to majorly reorganize it’s current monitoring mechanisms as far as hate speech is concerned. The government must also intervene if required – already multiple instances exist of mob violence invited through social media. If the current state of affairs is allowed to continue, there’s no doubt that such instances would only increase.

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