An Indian man says Facebook sent representatives to his physical home to verify whether he posted certain political content on the platform, highlighting more concerns about privacy and freedom of speech.
A man living in New Delhi, India, who says he made political posts on the platform, claims he had a representative from Facebook show up at his residence to ask questions about the post. It is believed the company took this action as part of its ongoing fight against “fake news,” and that it is the first known instance of Facebook appearing at someone’s physical address to determine the veracity of posts.
Top legal experts in India seem to consider the possible invasion of privacy unprecedented, and believe it could open Facebook to legal recourse.
“This action, if true, clearly infringes upon the privacy of a user. Sending a representative to physically verify a user is a blatant invasion of his or her privacy space. Only the state can act like this under proper laws,” Pavan Duggal, the country’s top cyber law expert and a senior Supreme Court advocate, told IANS.
Facebook, Duggal said, can at best discontinue a Page, Group or delete the post, or remove the user from its platform as it has done so in the past. When it comes to those who wants to run political ads on Facebook, the company verifies residency of advertisers either by physical verification (by sending someone to the address provided) or by sending a code in the post.
The article also notes that Duggal considers the move a “gross violation,” and “unwarranted under the ambit of the Information Technology Act, 2000,” quoting Duggal as saying “In such a scenario, the user can sue Facebook and even the government for allowing such activities under its nose that infringes on the privacy of a user.”
As Facebook attempts to stamp out fake news in India, which is the world’s largest democracy, the country quickly approaches an important election on April 11.
YOUR NEW MASTER: Twitter’s Head of Conversational Safety, a “Young, Queer Asian-American Businesswoman,” is “Rethinking” the Concept of User Safety
Do you trust someone like her to make Twitter “a safer place”?
The media company Protocol, a sister site of Politico, recently published an article about Twitter’s new “head of product for conversational safety,” Christine Su. It claims that Su, a “young, queer Asian-American businesswoman,” is revolutionizing what “user safety” on social media means.
Twitter hired Su around six months ago to be in charge of “what might be the most difficult task on Twitter,” despite having no apparent experience in politics, programming, and media relations. But Twitter seems to like her for her “creative” and “somewhat radical new ideas” about user safety.
“As a queer woman of color who is an Asian American in tech in rural America, that experience is a very intersectional one. I’ve had plenty of experiences moving through spaces where I wanted more safety,” Su said.
Protocol writes that Su’s vision incorporates “transformative and procedural justice.” Transformative justice ostensibly refers to a non-retributive form of repairing harm done to someone and preventing it from happening again; procedural justice to enacting a set of rules that “make harm rarer in the first place.”
This all sounds nice and dandy—but beware. So-called transformative and procedural justice will not benefit you, but will crush you. Anything that’s perceived as “harmful” against “women and people from marginalized groups” can and will be used to censor you. Christine Su may reassuringly claim that “the point is not to make the entire world a safe space,” but she’s open about the fact that she will help give the Coalition of the Fringes more control over what people are allowed to do and say on Twitter.
Examples from the article:
- Creating an audio hangout feature called “Spaces,” which will allow users to determine who is allowed to participate, as well as who can speak and when. (Note that it’s being tested on “women and marginalized groups of people” first.)
- Potentially doubling down on functions that “encourage people to read content before reposting it.” (Which is exclusively done to censor or limit the reach of conservative and other right-wing content.)
- Building tools that “create private pathways for apologies, forgiveness and deescalation.” (The finer details are still a work in progress according to Su.)
- Defining what a “meaningful conversation” is. (Would people like Su think that anything right-wingers say or believe belongs in a “meaningful conversation”? Let’s just say I wouldn’t bet money on it…)
You know full well that a company like Facebook would shortly follow suit. After all, it’s not just Twitter that Su is “revolutionizing,” but the concept of social media itself. Figure out where all this is heading.
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