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Indian users share hateful content more readily on same-religion groups: Facebook internal docs

Respondents of the study considered WhatsApp groups to be a safe space for posting content targeting other religions.

"When users believed they were only talking to their religious group in messages or groups, they more readily shared inflammatory or misinformation content," an internal report by Facebook on communal violence in India concluded. The report recommended various steps to reduce hateful content on Facebook and WhatsApp groups. The findings of the internal report were based on 37 at-home interviews with Facebook users across four cities. Besides dealing with groups, the report also acknowledged that users encountered misinformation on Facebook during the Delhi Riots. Till now, regulators in India and abroad have focused broadly on content moderation rules that apply across platforms. If hateful content is majorly spread through closed groups, however, regulations over how such groups must be moderated may be called for. What Facebook's report said about hateful content on groups The internal document, titled 'Communal Conflict in India,' was included in disclosures made to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and provided to US Congress in redacted form by whistleblower Frances Haugen’s legal counsel. The redacted versions received by Congress were reviewed by a consortium of news organisations including MediaNama. Comfort with sharing harmful content: "Some Hindu and Muslim participants felt more comfortable sharing harmful content when they believed only other members of their religion would see it," the report said. Both communities cited WhatsApp groups as more comfortable spaces to share content that would offend another religious community, according to the report. Moving to single religion spaces: When the participants of Facebook's study experienced harassment or…

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