Facebook’s Purge In India & Pakistan

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Facebook on 1st April 2019 removed hundreds of pages, groups and accounts for violating Facebook’s policies by indulging in spam. In context of Indian elections, Facebook removed 687 pages and accounts linked to Gujarat IT cell of INC (Indian National Congress) for automated behaviour. Another major take down was on 15 Facebook pages, groups & accounts linked with Indian IT firm Silver Touch engaged in inauthentic behavior. Silver Touch is a Gujarat based company close to the ruling party BJP. Silver Touch also runs ‘NaMo’ App for PM Narendra Modi. It is estimated that nearly 200 pro BJP pages have been taken down reducing the audience by at least 20 crore, while Congress IT cell pages had limited followers approx 2,00,000 users. Some of the prominent pro BJP pages taken down include Dainik Bharat, Postcard News, My Nation, Hindutva.info, Atal Modi, Great Narendra Modi etc. As per information put out, INC IT Cell spent US $ 39,000 on the Ad campaign, while Silver Touch spent US $ 70,000 in Ad campaign on Facebook.

Facebook also removed 103 pages, groups and accounts on both Facebook and Instagram all part of covert network of social media propaganda arm of Pakistani Army ISPR for inauthentic behaviour on social media platforms. These pages frequently posted on Indian Government, political leaders and military. Some of these accounts posted in Urdu, English and boasted of 3 million followers. These pages on Facebook were spreading propaganda on Kashmir, boasting Pakistani military with Instagram accounts like “Pakistan Army-the BEST”. Many of these pages and accounts were indulged in deriding India & its military after the Pulwama terrorist attack and Indian air strikes in Balakot in February 2019. Many of them directly lauded the role of General Gafoor who is DGISPR. It is estimated that Pakistani military nearly paid US $ 1000 for ads. Facebook in its detailed statement put out on Newsboard giving full details of the purge it carried on accounts across India and Pakistan in coordinated bid to take down spam, propaganda & fake news.

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