Tuesday, October 19, 2021

CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Indian authorities launch probe of Facebook for posting graphic murder video

Federal authorities are investigating Facebook for not reporting a user-submitted graphic video of a murder as hate speech.

On Thursday, The Washington Post reported that Facebook executives in India had denied a request to remove a video, but later changed their mind after it had been published online, the agency reports.

The video, uploaded to Facebook on Feb. 23 by a user named Ahmed Kazmi, shows a 17-year-old Muslim boy beheaded in Mumbai. It was uploaded to Facebook India in January, but Facebook executives denied the request to remove the video due to its graphic nature. The video was later posted online by other users.

Shortly after going public with the newspaper’s findings, the Post reported that officials at the National Commission for Minorities in India had called Facebook executives and asked them to have the video taken down.

But Azhar Masood, a member of India’s National Commission for Minorities, told The Washington Post that Facebook representatives in India changed their tune after he complained to an official from India’s Home Ministry.

In a statement on Wednesday, Facebook confirmed that it was investigating what happened.

“We are aware of a video that was posted on Facebook (India) that allegedly shows the beheading of a child,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to the paper. “We are investigating, and if necessary, we will remove it.”

The footage of the gruesome murder was reported to the National Commission for Minorities, according to Singh, who also chairs the National Commission for Minorities.

He said that he did not know the name of the person who filed the complaint against Facebook.

“If the person who filed the complaint and the police want the officer to investigate, we will also be concerned,” Singh said.

India has struggled with online hate speech. Last October, a video circulating on Facebook and other social media sites featured an autistic teenager being gang-raped. The video, which showed two other men, the Post reported, was spread on Facebook after its initial upload to Twitter and then later uploaded to other websites. Police arrested five men on charges of gang rape and murder.

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