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“Facebook biased against right-of-centre pages”: A closer look at Ravi Shankar Prasad’s letter to Mark Zuckerberg

IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to raise "serious concerns" about the company's Indian arm. He claimed that prior to the 2019 general elections, Facebook's Indian leadership had worked to delete and reduce the reach of pages supportive of the "right-of-centre ideology". Prasad also said that the affected people were given no recourse or right to appeal against such actions by Facebook. Prasad's letter comes at a time of controversy for Facebook in India. Last month, the Wall Street Journal had reported that Facebook chose to not take action against hate speech by ruling Bharatiya Janata Party  leaders in order to avoid the company's business interests in India. Ankhi Das, head of the company's public policy in India, had opposed taking down posts by T Raja Singh, a BJP MLA from Telangana, and other "Hindu nationalist individuals" even though they were flagged as "hate speech". The report has since attracted considerable attention across the country, with opposition parties calling for an investigation to determine if Facebook acted in a non-partisan manner. What is Prasad accusing Facebook of? "Concerted effort" by Facebook India against right-of-centre pages: Prasad wrote that Facebook's India management had deleted pages of substantially reduced the reach of pages that leaned "right-of-centre". He said that dozens of emails had been written to Facebook management, but they received no response. However, previous reporting indicates the exact opposite of what Prasad has claimed. As mentioned earlier, the WSJ report noted that Facebook India executives…

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