Frances Haugen's revelations of Facebook's 'profit over people' policy with regards to fake news and hate speech has led to the floodgates opening with a series of leaked documents exposing the company's inadequacies in infrastructure and policies to deal with hate speech. A report by Reuters has now revealed that Facebook employees had raised alarms about the proliferation of anti-Muslim content in India in Bengali and Hindi, languages that Facebook's classifiers were unable to deal with.
Facebook employees also shared examples of "fear-mongering, anti-Muslim narratives" spread on the site in India, including calls to oust the large minority Muslim population there. "Our lack of Hindi and Bengali classifiers means much of this content is never flagged or actioned," the document said, as quoted by Reuters.
The Congress had earlier demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into Facebook's alleged tacit support of certain members of the ruling BJP party whose accounts were not monitored or suspended despite being flagged for promoting violence.
Similarly, Reuters this month found posts in Amharic, one of Ethiopia's most common languages, referring to different ethnic groups as the enemy and issuing them death threats. A nearly year-long conflict in the country between the Ethiopian government and rebel forces in the Tigray region has killed thousands of people and displaced more than 2 million the agency reported. Another example is the finding that Facebook was instrumental in promoting offline violence against Rohingya's in Myanmar, a United Nations experts panel concluded in 2018.
The documents show that Facebook's combination of Artificial Intelligence detection mechanisms and human review is severely lacking in countries around the world. Facebook spokesperson Mavis Jones defended the company's work by saying efforts were being made to remedy shortcomings. Facebook worked with UN guidelines to identify countries where there is 'heightened risk' of real-world violence and then try to curb possible human rights violations on the platform, Jones said.
These shortcomings extended from online language availability to real-life infrastructure as Facebook employees in regions outside the US told Reuters that the company did not understand the issues faced by them nor did they deploy staff or training to overcome them. Former the Middle East and North Africa head of policy Ashraf Zeitoon also described the company's mindset as 'colonial' as it was focused solely on expansion and profits.