BBC: Facebook has announced that it has removed more than 687 pages linked to India’s main opposition Congress party.
“While the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our review found that it was connected to individuals associated with an INC (Indian National Congress) IT Cell,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook, said in a statement, quoted by the Reuters news agency.
Coming a day after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asked governments to do more to stop the spread of fake news, this move is intended to show that the social media platform is taking the problem seriously.
The fact that it has targeted so many pages belonging to the Congress is also significant from a political point of view. For one, the announcement has come days before the country begins voting in general elections on 11 April.
Secondly, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is considered more social media savvy, and its supporters have often been linked to vicious trolling and slander against the party’s critics and opponents.
Being called out so publicly is not only humiliating for the Congress, but also gives the BJP the moral high ground.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has often said that he is being targeted in a campaign of hate by his political opponents and this is likely to help him buttress his claim.