Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
Facebook has partnered with external agencies for physical verification of the location of the advertisers. VOA

Facebook, facing the election heat in India and unable to stop misinformation and fake news circulating on its platforms, is busy doing something never heard of: Sending its representatives to users’ home to verify if the post with political content was actually written by them.

IANS has contacted one such Facebook user in New Delhi who was recently visited by a Facebook representative for the verification process related to the content the user had posted.


“It was like cops come to your door for passport verification. The Facebook representative asked me to prove my credentials by asking for my Aadhaar card and other documents to understand if I am the one who had posted the political content,” the person who did not wish to be named told IANS.


Facebook-owned WhatsApp is another fake news factory where more than 87,000 groups are targeting millions with political messaging. Pixabay

The user was left stunned to see a Facebook representative landing at his home for inquiring about a post.

“It was a shocker for me. How come a social media platform does that to a user? What about a user’s privacy? I have never heard of any such incident anywhere. Was this at the behest of the government?” asked the user.

IANS sent a couple of mails to Facebook for their version on this but to no avail.

This kind of behaviour has not been seen or reported earlier even at the global level as several countries have gone through the elections with Facebook trying its best to curb misinformation.

According to legal experts, physically verifying a user is something that is unprecedented and called for tough action against the social media platform.

“This action, if true, clearly infringes upon the privacy of a user. Sending a representative to physically verify a user is a blatant invasion of his or her privacy space. Only the state can act like this under proper laws,” Pavan Duggal, the country’s top cyber law expert and a senior Supreme Court advocate, told IANS.

Facebook, Duggal said, can at best discontinue a Page, Group or delete the post, or remove the user from its platform as it has done so in the past.

When it comes to those who wants to run political ads on Facebook, the company verifies residency of advertisers either by physical verification (by sending someone to the address provided) or by sending a code in the post.

Facebook has partnered with external agencies for physical verification of the location of the advertisers.

To be approved by Facebook, one needs to have a residency in India and the verification process takes around four to five days, says the company which has close to 30 crore users in the country.


This kind of behaviour has not been seen or reported earlier even at the global level as several countries have gone through the elections with Facebook trying its best to curb misinformation. Pixabay

But physical verification of a user is gross violation and unwarranted under the ambit of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

“In such a scenario, the user can sue Facebook and even the government for allowing such activities under its nose that infringes on the privacy of a user,” Duggal noted.

The world’s largest democracy goes to the polls from April 11 and the social media giant is scrambling for solutions which are few and far between.

Also Read: This Unique Restaurant in China Appoints Only Deaf Waiters

Over 200 fake Facebook Groups and Pages with more than one lakh followers are currently influencing the group members and followers with biased political content, say social media experts.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp is another fake news factory where more than 87,000 groups are targeting millions with political messaging. (IANS)


Popular

VOA

In this file illustration photo taken Aug. 12, 2021, the Facebook logo is shown on a smartphone in front of a computer screen in Los Angeles

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook critics pounced Wednesday on a report that the social network plans to rename itself, arguing it may be seeking to distract from recent scandals and controversy.

The report from tech news website The Verge, which Facebook refused to confirm, said the embattled company was aiming to show its ambition to be more than a social media site.

Keep Reading Show less
VOA

Surgeons attached a pig kidney to a pair of large blood vessels outside the body of a deceased recipient so they could observe it for two days, and the kidney did what it was supposed to do.

Scientists temporarily attached a pig's kidney to a human body and watched it begin to work, a small step in the decades-long quest to one day use animal organs for lifesaving transplants.

Pigs have been the most recent research focus to address the organ shortage, but among the hurdles: A sugar in pig cells, foreign to the human body, causes immediate organ rejection. The kidney for this experiment came from a gene-edited animal, engineered to eliminate that sugar and avoid an immune system attack.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Killer Smog in Delhi.

Developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, a Decision Support System (DSS) that extends the ability of the existing air quality early warning system (AQEWS) to have decision-making capability for air quality management in Delhi-NCR was launched on Tuesday.

The website for the DSS (https://ews.tropmet.res.in/dss/) is designed to help the Commission for Air Quality Management for NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) by delivering quantitative information about the contribution of emissions from Delhi and its 19 surrounding districts; the contribution of emissions from eight different sectors in Delhi; and the contribution from biomass-burning activities in the neighbouring states.

These information would assist in managing the air quality in a timely manner, a release from the Ministry of Earth Sciences said.

The need was stated by the CAQM, which was formed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, during a meeting held in January 2021.

Recently, the Commission reviewed the progress made by IITM and had in principle approved the current version of DSS for air quality management in the Delhi-NCR. The IITM has also developed a new website for DSS with the entire system made operational, the release said.

Union Minister of State for Earth Sciences, Jitendra Singh, while launching the website for AQEWS on the occasion of 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' week organised by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said, "DSS is a significant contribution to 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' on behalf of MoES and IITM and suggestions are invited on this issue."

The website also has a feature whereby the users can create their own emission reduction scenarios (from 20 different districts, including Delhi) so as to examine the possible projected improvement in air quality in Delhi for the next five days.

"This information would explicitly highlight the most important emission sources responsible for the degradation of air quality in Delhi and suggest possible solutions to ameliorate the same. With a plethora of quantitative data, the AQEWS integrated with DSS could become a user-friendly tool for air-quality management in and around Delhi," the release said. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Delhi, India, Pollution, IITM, Ministry of Earth Sciences