In an interesting news that has just broken out, Face Book has removed 687 pages supposedly connected with the Congress party for “Inappropriate Behaviour” indicates that the company has run some sort of analytics and found out that the owners of these pages were running their accounts in impersonated names and all of them were connected to the IT Cell of Indian National Congress and were using the pages to canvass for Congress.
Face Book has therefore accepted that today’s AI environment can be harnessed to at least identify some types of fake news and take proactive action. I am sure that more is possible.
Recently Naavi had raised this issue in his article in India Legal Magazine.
In this article, I had argued that Social Media companies are actually not interested in removing fake news because they are commercially beneficial to them. We have seen this tendency in ISPs who support pornography and spamming since they constitute a substantial part of data exchange on the Internet. Similarly WhatsApp can do a lot to reduce the duplication of data exchange if they really want, but obviously this does not make commercial sense. What has happened now with Face Book is therefore a positive development and must be appreciated.
A couple of month’s back, in a round table in Bangalore, Naavi had pointed out to Professor Rajiv Gowda the spokesperson of Congress, (who was one of the participants,) that it was the political parties which were mainly responsible for the fake news. This stand has been vindicated in the current news break.
It must however be noted that Face Book has said that the removal of the pages is not because of the content but because of the attempt to hide identity. This issue is therefore not an issue of “Freedom of Expression” and hence Prashant Bhushan and his friends cannot run to the Supreme Court with their PILs.
Ms Divya Spandana, better known to Karnataka people as Actress Ramya who headed the Congress IT Cell may be credited with the origin of the tendency of Congress becoming a “Fake News Engine”. Mr Rahul Gandhi enjoys creating and spreading fake news and with the help of some media friends gets leverage to the fake news. Karnataka politicians are also slowly learning this art of making fake allegations on their political opponents and there are many Kannada websites and news channels who need to also take similar steps as what Face Book has taken.
It would therefore be interesting to see how this incident changes the social media usage in the next month going deeper into elections.