In a bid to calm down the rising tension with the Indian government, Facebook has announced that all accounts and people that are indulged in sharing fake information would be punished severely.
To curb down fake information on Facebook, the social media giant has assured that the reach of personal accounts as well as pages that are found to be sharing fake information would be reduced significantly.
Facebook has apparently rubbed the Indian government on the wrong side as WhatApp, the world’s most popular mobile messaging app owned by Facebook, has sued the government over users’ privacy concerns. In February, the Indian government released new guidelines for all social media and internet companies, OTT platforms and mobile messaging apps, with an implementation deadline of May 25 2021. However, none of the social media platforms has implemented that despite the deadline ended yesterday. This has put them at risk of getting banned in India.
Reacting to the government displeasure for not adhering to the guidelines, Facebook’s spokesperson has clarified that the new rules will break their ‘end-to-end encryption’ policy undermining the user’s right to privacy.
WhatsApp, on the other hand, taking a step further, sued the government .
The ongoing tug of war between the Indian government and the companies is resulting in increasing tension. While the Indian government has clarified that the new guidelines are only meant to clamp down on fake and misleading information and punish the serious offenders, Facebook has tried to make a moderate attempt to pacify the authorities by deciding to come down heavily on such offenders by its own. The company believes that such actions will discourage people from sharing fake information and will keep users more mindful while resharing the information coming from other people they are connected with.
Facebook has decided to take three major actions to reduce fake information being shared on the platform:
- Punish Pages And People who are indulged in sharing fake information actively or repeatedly by reducing their reach. A repeated number of flagging by fact-checkers on status updates shared by a page or people will virtually make them non-existence on Facebook.
- Discouraging people from following pages or people who are indulged in sharing fake information. A prominent warning will be issued in a form of a popup to let Facebook users know that the authenticity of content shared by page or people is questionable. This will shoo away a sizeable number of Facebook users from such pages and people.
- Issuing a warning to a user while sharing false information is another tactic Facebook has employed. A personalised alert would be issued to those would have shared fake information making them know that repeated action of sharing fake information will impact their overall reach of other legitimate posts.
Facebook has issued a press note with all the above actionable guidelines to let its over 400 million users in India, as well as the Indian government, know how committed the company is in a fight against fake information. The move is also being seen as an attempt to calm down the situation that has arisen after the government has decided to put their foot down on implementing new policies.
The message from Zuckerberg led social media giant is very clear – Refrain from sharing fake content and also from the people and pages who are there on social platforms with a sole objective to misguide and mislead people. And if you fail to do so, be ready to face the music!