Skip to main content

Facebook "filters" content critical of controversial Art of Living's World Cultural Festival off Jamuna in Delhi

By Our Representative
Facts of come to light suggesting that Facebook, world’s biggest social networking site, has sought block or filter posts critical of well-known preacher and Hindu religious guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, involved in a major environmental controversy for holding World Cultural Festival on the banks of Yamuna in Delhi.
A well-known Ahmedabad-based activist and social entrepreneur, Roshan Shah, has written to those responsible for handling the Facebook India Online Services Private Limited that his Facebook timeline (https://www.facebook.com/roshiley) for the last two days was flooded with “environmentalists’ and nationalists’ posts” which were “very critical” of the culture festival.
However, to his utter surprise, “all of a sudden this morning I saw no posts”, he said in his complaint lodged to the Facebook India Online Services Private Limited on March 12, even as sending it to three of its directors, Vikram Ravindra Mamadipudi, David William Kling, and Jaspal Singh Athwal.
“Even my posts on the same subject with Sri Sri and Ravi Shankar keywords did not show up”, Shah said, adding, these directors of Facebook India Online Services – which operates from Hitech City, Hyderabad, are “responsible for day to day operations of operations of facebook.com in India”.
Calling “content filtering” violation of Freedom of speech, Shah said, “Directors and team should be prosecuted and penalized for this”. Threatening legal action, he added, “The whole concept of Social Media goes for a toss here.”
Submitting that Facebook “is operating as Online Social Networking site with primarily user generated content”, Shah said, “Facebook users make online friends on Facebook and share content on own or friends’ timeline freely which ideally comes up and should come up in one or more of (a) other friends timeline; (b) friends of friends timeline and (c) general public timeline and d) followers and general public for public posts.”
“People who follow their friends on Facebook ought to see content of friends whom they follow first on priority over other general content which is not from friends excluding certain sponsored content”, he continued.
“Facebook tried to control social media content via unsuccessful attempt promoting free basics, where the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) ruled in favour of net neutrality and Facebook thereby got a jolt on its Free Basics agenda”, Shah said.
He added, “Now to circumvent that agenda, Facebook has found a new illegal way of content filtering and making money by blocking content on timeline”, giving evidence through a youtube video which he shot about 10 am Indian Standard Time on March 12 regarding how this was done.
Linking the filtering of his Facebook posts with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living Foundation receiving Rs 2.5 crore from the Union Ministry of Culture for holding the World Culture Festival, Shah said, the Indian army was “used for bridge construction” and trees were “chopped off” – which “ticked off social media users on Facebook to slam consistently for the last two days on this act of Ravi Shankar and his team.”
The posts, he said, also slammed “Sri Sri’s collusion with Union government to abuse taxpayers’ money”, wondering if Facebook has now “another revenue model of content filtering”.
“Facebook can push its sponsored content”, Shah said, adding, however, it has “no right to filter my content or my or friends or user generated contents on timelines.”
Calling this “a dangerous model” which requires “immediate investigation and a written response from Facebook” on how “Rs 2.5 crore grant got filtered”, Shah said, “Even the National Green Tribunal has slapped Rs 5 crore fine on Art of Living Foundation”, yet, “Facebook is trying to help such criminals by filtering negative content is abetting crime.”

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".

Ex-IAS, IPS, IFS officers tell Modi: Pragya Thakur doesn't represent India's rich heritage

Counterview Desk
In an open statement, a group of former civil servants have said that normally they would have dismissed the candidature of Pragya Thakur, who is BJP’s choice for the Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency, as an act of political expediency. However, they were forced to react to her candidature after none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed has as a “symbol of our civilisational heritage.”

India's 80% construction sites "unsafe", deaths 20 times higher than those in Britain

By Rajiv Shah
The Government of India may be seeking to project India’s construction sector as the country’s second-largest employer of the country after agriculture, providing jobs to more than 44 million people, and contributing nearly 9% to the national GDP, yet, ironically, its workforce is more unprotected than any other industrial sector of the country. Data suggest that the possibility of a fatality is five times more likely in the construction industry  than in a manufacturing industry, and the risk of a major injury is 2.5 times higher.

India sans Modi preferable, Congress worthier recipient of Indians’ votes: The Economist

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded and crucial commentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the electoral political battle is on, influential British weekly “The Economist”, has declared that “Indians, who are in the midst of voting in a fresh election, would be better off with a different leader”, even as pointing out that that under Modi, “India’s ruling party poses a threat to democracy.”