Tech giant deleted thousands of accounts ahead of Indian elections
APRIL 11, 2019
While Facebook claims to have deleted thousands of pages to prevent meddling in the Indian elections, the American company’s selective deletions have led at least one man to ask: Who is watching the election watchers?
A little over a week ahead of the beginning of elections in India this Thursday, Facebook raised some eyebrows when it announced that it had removed a number of politically oriented pages as a part of its “election integrity” efforts.
The social media giant removed 138 pro-opposition pages that had over 200,000 followers for “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” While they only removed 15 pro-government pages, as it turned out, those pages had a far wider reach with millions of likes.
Given the apparent imbalance, it is all the more concerning that the purge was conducted with assistance from the US-based Atlantic Council, a think tank that receives millions of dollars in funding from the US State Department and NATO allies.
Indian defense analyst and security expert Abhijit Iyer-Mitra is one of the people extremely concerned with the impact the American private company could have on India’s elections. He has even filed a criminal complaint with police in New Delhi, describing Facebook’s actions as an act of war, and an attack on the country’s sovereignty.
Speaking to RT, Iyer-Mitra blasted the social network for their glaring double standards: while making extensive efforts to protect American elections from foreign actors in the wake of the alleged “Russian meddling” scandal, the company seemingly had no qualms about letting a state-department-linked think tank act in place of Indian election officials.
“The point is they are an American company, this is an Indian election,” said Iyer-Mitra. “We are not willing to cede our sovereignty to other countries like this. I think they are making a big mistake and I intend to pursue this to the end.”