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Facebook begins peering directly in India through Mumbai

Facebook is now peering directly with Indian ISPs from a point of presence (POP) in India, as first noted by Anurag Bhatia. GPX Mumbai, a private peering point and datacenter in India, is where Facebook has established the POP. As a result, any ISP that chooses to peer with GPX will be able to serve Facebook data directly from an Indian Internet exchange. So far, GPX Mumbai seems to be peered with large Internet companies like Amazon, Google, and recently Netflix, which also peered with the public Mumbai Internet Exchange earlier this month. GPX Mumbai also seems to be peered with ISPs like Spectranet and Jio. EDIT: This does not necessarily mean that these ISPs are peered directly with the Internet companies; a commenter pointed out that GPX is a datacenter and not a ‘peering fabric’ like Internet exchanges.

Without peering to Mumbai, most Indian ISPs would pull Facebook traffic from Internet exchanges in Singapore, which is odd considering the large amount of traffic that Facebook probably delivers to Indian users. Since the peering arrangement with GPX is private, the capacity of the connection (in Gbps) has not been disclosed. “If you are an ISP in India, you can start peering with Facebook right away!” Bhatia said in his blog post where he noted the development.

Peering and Content Delivery Networks are a subject of discussion in TRAI’s ongoing net neutrality consultation. ISPs and Internet companies (like Netflix and Akamai) have asked the regulator to avoid regulating peering arrangements and CDNs, since these are mostly commercial arrangements, and are in the ‘middle mile’, which means that they don’t control discrimination of data speeds to users in the last mile.

Recent developments on Facebook

Facebook has been battling multiple controversies about its moderation of abusive content and its filtering of fake news out of news feeds. The Guardian recently uncovered a trove of presentations that the company made to employees tasked with identifying and removing abusive or obscene content. The presentations contained detailed guidelines on what content to remove and what not to remove. Facebook conceded that not all “disagreeable” content can be removed, and said that these guidelines are incredibly specific so that moderators from all cultural backgrounds and locations make similar decisions when reviewing posts.

Recently, the company hired 3000 employees to moderate content that other users have reported. As we pointed out then, regulatory intervention may force Facebook to monitor content proactively, instead of just looking at posts and livestreams that other users are reporting. With the scale the company has achieved, it now has the resources to weed out abuse on the platform.

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The company is also working on weeding out fake news and low-quality content from users’ news feeds, clearly marking out content that is low-quality or misleading, and reducing their ranking on the news feed.

Update: A previous version of this article seemed to indicate that GPX Mumbai is a peering fabric, as opposed to primarily being a datacenter. This, as well as an editing error, have been fixed.

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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