New Delhi, September 5
Meta, the parent company for popular apps like Facebook and WhatsApp, considers user safety as “super important” and is using AI in a big way to combat misinformation, the social media giant’s India head Sandhya Devanathan has said.
Meta will continue with its election integrity efforts, as India heads for Lok Sabha elections next year, she told PTI.
Devanathan, who is the Vice President of Meta in India, said user safety is an area where the company has invested “a lot”.
Outlining strategy adopted by Meta to crackdown on misinformation and hateful speech on its platform, Devanathan said one of the ways is through use of technology.
“So AI (Artificial Intelligence) has been a big tool that has been our friend in combating a lot of misinformation and preventing harm on our platforms. Almost 85 per cent of content that we can classify as harmful is removed by AI before it even hits a human being to moderate,” she said, adding that this marks use of technology for good.
She added: “We have 3.88 billion monthly activities. So AI has been a huge tool here”.
In India specifically, Meta has content moderators in over 20 languages, actively looking to see what they can do to make sure that harmful content doesn't stay up on its platforms.
“We have partnerships with 11 fact checkers across multiple languages. It is the largest partnership we have for Meta globally, where we have third-party fact checkers, fact checking on the platform,” she said.
Meta has also prioritised education and user awareness. “... Informing people of the choices they have, the privacy settings they can keep... but equally how to spot misinformation on our site... So, that’s an area you will see us continue to invest in,” Devanathan said.
India is among Meta’s largest user bases globally -- 400 million users of Facebook were here at the last count and those numbers have grown since.
On Meta’s election integrity efforts, she said, “we've seen around 200 elections so far where we've made sure that on our platform, those elections go off smoothly.” Meta's efforts will certainly continue for Indian elections, as well, she asserted.
“But I go back to the work that we're doing on fact-checking, the work that we're doing on education and helping people spot misinformation. So apart from elections also, I think this should be something all round and continuing,” she said.
It is pertinent to mention here that with its booming smartphone sales and availability of dirt cheap data supercharging growth for digital platforms, India is one of the biggest markets for social media companies such as Meta, Google, and X (formerly Twitter).
That said, social media companies, over the past years, have drawn flak globally and in India over issues of user harm and the circulation of misinformation, hate speech, and fake news on their platforms.
There is also a growing discontent among a section of users who allege that digital platforms have been indulging in arbitrary acts in taking down content, or not responding fast enough to grievances, despite users red-flagging them.
India has tightened rules for social media companies, increasing their accountability to users.
In fact, the government has, time and again, emphasised that safety and trust are public policy objectives and mission, and it will do all it takes to ensure suitable safeguards are in place for digital citizens navigating online and social media space.
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