Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Facebook denies conducting physical verification of an Indian user for a post

  • A media report says Facebook officials visited a user’s residence in New Delhi asking for Aadhaar and other documents to verify if he had posted the political content on his account
  • Facebook says it requires off platform checks, only, for those who want to run ads related to politics or issues of national importance in India

NEW DELHI: Facebook, which has been in overdrive to ensure transparency on its platform in the run up to the 2019 general elections, on Sunday denied that it has conducted physical verification of an Indian user who has written a post containing political content on his account. As per a report published by news wire agency IANS quoting an anonymous user from New Delhi, representatives from Facebook visited user’s residence asking for Aadhaar card and other documents to understand if he was the one who had posted the political content on his account.

Reacting to the report a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement, “Facebook does not conduct any form of physical verification in India, except for an advertiser who plans to run ads related to politics or issues of national importance in India."

The social media platform stated that it requires off platform checks, only, for those who want to run ads related to politics or issues of national importance in India. It requires them to go through an ad authorization process.

As a part of the ad authorization process, the advertiser has the choice of verification by sending a letter to the address provided by the advertiser or scheduling an in-person visit to complete the confirmation.

Earlier, Facebook said that it has more than tripled the team working on safety and security to 30,000 people ahead of general elections which are scheduled to be held from 11 April to 19 May.

Recently, it took down over 700 pages linked to individuals that it said were associated with the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party for spamming other users.

In a bid to raise voter awareness, it has launched a new feature called ‘Candidate Connect’ which will let contesting candidates upload 20-second videos in which they can introduce themselves and highlight how they will address outstanding challenges in their constituencies if elected to office. It will also let them highlight their past achievements.

The social media platform has recently expanded its fact-checking team, which fact-checks posts and visual media in languages including English, Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Malayalam, and Marathi. It also said it will carry disclaimers with all political ads that appear on its platform.

With over 240 million user base, Facebook has a significant presence in India. The platform, which also owns WhatsApp, along with other social media sites such as Twitter has been under government scrutiny on issues around fake news, misinformation and transparency.

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