India 2024 Election

Big Tech's Role in the 2024 Indian General Elections

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India 2024 Election

Big Tech’s Role in the 2024 Indian General Elections

India, the world’s largest democracy, will be heading to the polls on Friday, April 19th, when almost 1 billion people will be eligible to vote. But despite repeated warnings, censure and committee hearings, Meta has failed to take effective action to stop the flow of hate-inciting content to the largest Facebook audience in the world: 400 million Indian users. Instead, Meta continues to profit from shadow advertisers by promoting posts vilifying and calling for the killing of ethnic minorities, which have resulted in violent crime and mob attacks, particularly against Muslims. Dozens of groups internationally are urging Meta to adopt a 10-Point Plan in order to protect lives and livelihoods in India.

Key demands include:

  1. Stop all paid political advertising during India’s election silence period
  2. Turn off behavioural profiling in recommendations system by default
  3. Provide meaningful transparency on the source of funding for all political advertisements

Indian diaspora group seals off Meta’s London HQ for “crimes against democracy”

“Mark Zuckerberg is profiting from hate — it’s a crime against democracy in India, Facebook takes money to amplify posts which call for people to be killed, which demean and demonise Muslims and which sow disinformation. It took two years for Facebook to remove a post from a prominent Hindu priest saying he wanted to ‘eliminate Muslims and Islam from the face of the Earth.’ It had 32 million views. How many minds are being warped by posts like that? As members of the Indian diaspora, we are outraged at Meta’s lack of action about its devastating impact in India. With India’s elections starting this week, we are sounding the alarm bells: Meta must act urgently and enforce a silence period during the election.”

– Lotika Singha, protester and co-chair of InSAF India.

In London, UK, on Wednesday April 17, Meta’s London HQ was targeted by a group of Indians and British-Indians for continuing to profit from hate-inciting Facebook posts ahead of India’s election. As Meta employees arrived for work they were met by protesters wearing forensics suits sealing off the entrance to the building with blue and white incident tape and setting up a crime scene outside to investigate Meta’s ‘crimes against democracy’.

Activists from diverse Indian diaspora organisations including India Labour Society, UK-Indian Muslim Council, Hindus for Human Rights, The Citizens, People Vs Big Tech, India Insaf, India Labour Solidarity, and Foundation The London Story have participated in the protest that sealed Meta’s London HQ for hours.

In the News

Compromised Information Environment Casts Doubt on the Fairness of India’s Elections

By: Manasa Narayanan
“The big elections are upon us. Starting this week, Indians will vote to elect representatives to the lower house of the Parliament, and choose the prime minister for the next five years. The elections will happen in stages, spread across the next month and a half, with nearly a billion people set to vote…But serious concerns remain as to how free and fair these elections will be, and what would be the state of democracy and the media if the current Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, wins a third term.”

via Tech Policy Press

“A fight across the seas: Diaspora activists demand Meta do better in India”

By: Manasa Narayanan
“Having been alerted about the protest beforehand, I stationed myself outside a cafe nearby, with a clear view of the building entrance. I met up with one of the organisers there, who was receiving updates on the movement of the protestors. Security was particularly high that day, so organisers were extra cautious to not have cameras or equipment visible. I hid my camera in the bag and waited… Around 10:10am, one of the co-organisers, who was sat next to me, signalled that protestors were on the move.”

via Shado Mag

Indian Elections Panel

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