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Facebook bans Indian politician for spreading hate speech

NEW DELHI: Facebook has banned outspoken right-wing Indian politician T. Raja Singh for spreading hate speech about Muslims.

A Facebook spokesman said a regional lawmaker for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party, T. Raja Singh, was blocked for violating policy prohibiting those promoting violence and hate from having a presence on the platform.

Raja, who made headlines for reportedly saying that Muslim Rohingya refugees from Myanmar should be shot, will now be put on a Facebook list of “dangerous individuals” and will not be allowed to maintain a presence on the platform.

“We have banned Raja Singh from Facebook for violating our policy prohibiting those that promote or engage in violence and hate from having a presence on our platform,” a Facebook spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

READ MORE: India’s opposition seeks probe into Facebook’s treatment of Modi’s party

The action comes Facebook faces growing political pressure in India over its handling of extremist content. Facebook officials have appeared before a parliamentary panel led by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor and faced questions on alleged political bias from both sides.

He will not be allowed on Facebook and its photo-sharing platform Instagram. The company will also remove pages, groups and accounts set up to represent him but will allow discussion of him.

Singh had claimed in a video on Twitter last month that he does not have any official Facebook page. He had also disowned communally-loaded posts and claimed that his official Facebook account was hacked and blocked in 2018.

A leading US daily had quoted unnamed insiders who claimed that Facebook India executive Ankhi Das intervened in an internal communication to stop a permanent ban on Raja Singh after he allegedly posted divisive content, saying it would damage “business prospects” in India.

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