Delhi summons top Indian Facebook official over hateful content

India is Facebook and its messaging service WhatsApp’s biggest market in terms of users. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 12 September 2020

Delhi summons top Indian Facebook official over hateful content

  • Facebook has been embroiled in a huge row in India
  • Social media giant denies any political bias but admitted it has to do better to curb hate speech

NEW DELHI: Delhi summoned Facebook’s India chief Saturday to answer allegations that the social media giant failed to remove dangerous content in its biggest market globally.
India is the US-based firm and its messaging service WhatsApp’s biggest market in terms of users, and the company is under pressure worldwide over the policing of hate speech.
Facebook has been embroiled in a huge row in India after the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported in August that the site failed to take down anti-Muslim comments by a politician from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in order to protect its business interests.
The Delhi Assembly panel on peace and harmony said Saturday it would investigate evidence — described by the committee as “incriminating material on record” — submitted by four prominent journalists and digital rights activists.
The committee has asked Ajit Mohan, the managing director of Facebook India, to appear before it on September 15 to determine the “veracity of allegations” made by the group.
It follows US civil rights groups claiming last week that the firm had failed to address hateful content in India and demanded that its India policy chief, Ankhi Das, be removed.
Facebook has denied any political bias but admitted it has to do better to curb hate speech.
The panel — headed by Raghav Chadha, a lawmaker with a party rivalling Prime Minister’s Narendra Modi’s BJP — also said the firm should be probed over its “alleged role and complicity” in the sectarian Delhi riots in February.
Around 50 people, most of them Muslims, were killed in the worst unrest in years between India’s majority Hindus and minority Muslims.
After the furor over the WSJ’s August report, Facebook blocked T. Raja Singh, a BJP lawmaker who had said Muslim Rohingya refugees from Myanmar should be shot.
Singh told said he would fight the ban and that Facebook’s action was an attack on BJP.


Cannes Lions answers big questions ahead of LIONS Live

Updated 20 min 36 sec ago

Cannes Lions answers big questions ahead of LIONS Live

Ahead of the return of LIONS Live from Oct 19-23, Cannes Lions partnered with WeTransfer to answer several questions put to its talent back in June 2020. The respondents include Quiet Storm’s Trevor Robinson, BBDO’s Josy Paul, Project Everyone’s Gail Gallie, Isobar’s Jean Lin, Google’s Lorraine Twohill, among others. Here are excerpts from the report:

What is the best form of activism? Can some activism set causes back, rather than bring progress?

Richard Curtis, writer, director, co-founder of Red Nose Day and UN Sustainable Development Goals advocate: All forms of activism play an important role in influencing and creating change. The most important thing is to strategize with everyone in mind. For example, if amazing change was happening at a political level, but nothing at all on a grassroots level, that wouldn’t create the best possible outcome. Activists might be doing their work with the best of intentions, but are not focused on collaboration. This may not necessarily set causes back, but is likely to be less effective and therefore hinder progress.


What will the creative approach look like post COVID-19?

Lorraine Twohill, chief marketing officer, Google: The elements that make really great work have always been the same and that will never change. Great work is great work. That being said, good creative work has always leaned on truth and shared experience and, right now, there is more of that than ever. Although everyone has experienced COVID-19 differently, we are living through a unique shared experience, which gives us more inspiration for powerful storytelling that resonates with people. In addition to that, COVID-19 has introduced so much chaos and new information into our lives, and people’s time is so valuable. I think that will lead to an increased focus on the messages that really matter in creative work. And, ultimately, to more human work.


As the market shifts toward e-commerce, what approach should be taken by the brands to design better consumer experiences in the new normal?

Jean Lin, global executive chairman, Isobar: The trends we’ve seen over the past few years will accelerate: from e-commerce, to Everywhere Commerce, to Total Commerce — every brand moment can become a moment to shop. You need technology to create experiences at scale, but you can’t underestimate how important creativity is in shaping customer experience in commerce. Brands should ask these key questions: How will my commerce offering make people’s lives better and easier — what problem does it solve? What will make my brand memorable and what do I want to be remembered for? What will ensure my product offering and brands resonate so people don’t get bored of my products?

It all comes down to bringing together the point of inspiration with the point of transaction. Use every brand moment as a shopping moment, but unleash creativity to avoid commoditization and mediocrity. Marketing conversations that focus too much on efficiency, and not on values and transformation, will have consequences and brands could suffer as we move to a new normal.

 
How should brands who are worried about putting out fake news navigate deep fakes? How do they do it safely?

Mike McGee, co-founder, Framestore: Advertisers and brands rely on building trust with their consumers and fans. Any mistakes and they are likely to be punished. In our clips, Boris and Donald were designed to be provocative, to start a conversation about their fidelity and likeness. But we didn’t use them to make any political statements, the content was designed to be amusing rather than a hoax.

 
What are you looking for when hiring creative talent? What stands out in a creative portfolio?

Josy Paul, chairman and chief creative officer, BBDO India: The truth is that you hire people, not portfolios. You are looking for difference, you’re looking for diversity. You’re looking for people who can bring you new influences and new backgrounds so that your work can be richer. And often a portfolio may not reflect that, because the portfolio tells you about the past. The person tells you about the future.