Internet giant Facebook is under pressure for further revelations about its handling of incidents of violence in the important Indian market.

As several American media reported on the weekend, citing internal company documents, the group had failed to contain false information and hateful news on its Indian platforms despite the advice of its own analysts.

Facebook was aware that the weak moderation makes its platforms vulnerable to abuse.

Facebook has already been accused by the former product manager Frances Haugen of putting its own profits above the safety of people and in doing so accepting devastating consequences for people, democracy and society.

Another informant followed suit last week, reporting internal discussions in which alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election was downplayed via Facebook's services, according to the Washington Post.

Facebook has firmly denied the allegations.

However, the revelations have increased calls for stricter regulations from Facebook and Internet companies as a whole.

Facebook were aware of problems in India

According to the latest revelations, Facebook analysts in India had seen a sharp increase in "rumors and calls to violence" from December 2019. The Wall Street Journal reported that Whatsapp was particularly bad in February 2020 when dozens of people died in clashes between Hindus and Muslims in India. The group then sent dozens of researchers there to talk to users about their experiences with the platform's algorithm.

In February 2019, scientists had also created a fictitious Facebook profile of a 21-year-old user in northern India.

Without the help of the researchers, the profile was flooded with “propaganda” for the Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi and “hate speech against Muslims,” reported the Washington Post from an internal memo.

"I have seen more pictures of the dead in the past three weeks than in my entire life," wrote the researcher who led the experiment, according to the New York Times.

Biggest market

India is the largest market for Facebook in terms of user numbers.

According to media reports, however, internal documents showed that most of the budget was devoted to combating disinformation, even though it accounts for less than 10 percent of users.

A company spokesman said the company had stepped up its fight against hate speech in non-English languages.

"Hate speech against marginalized groups, including Muslims, is increasing worldwide," and Facebook is "improving the enforcement of its rules" to address this, the AFP news agency spokesman said.

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