First published on August 15, 2023
On Tuesday, the Steering Committee for the Global Alliance Against Digital Hate and Extremism, were joined by the South Asia Solidarity Group, Council of Indian Muslims and other organizations in sending a letter to Meta and the Facebook Oversight Board demanding that the tech giant classify the Indian group Bajrang Dal as a dangerous organization and ban it from all Meta platforms for inciting violence and mass atrocity against vulnerable Indian caste and religious minorities.
Bajrang Dal, a militant Hindu nationalist organization and offshoot of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, is well known for its violent action against Indian minorities, particularly Muslim and Christian minorities. According to the letter, the Bajrang Dal continues to lead campaigns of terror, including calls to violence and genocide, against caste and religious minorities through their presence on social media.
“It is imperative the Meta and the Facebook Oversight Board address their inaction in allowing dangerous groups and individuals like the Bajrang Dal and its leaders to spew genocidal hate speech against millions of Muslim and other castes and religions. Their failure of duty of care is not just morally reprehensible but criminally negligent, and they will have to account for their inaction to save lives during a genocide. Before more terror is unleashed on Indian minorities we ask Meta and the Oversight Board to take a stand for life to implement their own policies and remove these genocidal actors. Any thing less is complicity with genocide,” said Alliance member Thenmozhi Soundararajan, Executive Director of Equality Labs.
The Bajrang Dal has previously been flagged by Facebook’s own security teams as being a dangerous group and clearly fits the criteria of Meta’s own Dangerous Organization and Individuals (DOI) Policy.
In its letter, the Global Alliance Against Digital Hate and Extremism demanded Meta to:
- Immediately Ban Bajrang Dal: Declare Bajrang Dal to be a DOI and ban its operation from all platforms
- Immediately Remove Hate Speech: Take down Bajrang Dal’s pages, groups and profiles supporting Bajrang Dal from all platforms, including all content associated with Bajrang Dal and its members, associates and affiliates that continue to incite acute violence and systematic harms against Muslim and other caste and religious minorities in India.
- Convene a co-designed dialogue and make actionable commitments to human rights with Internet freedom advocates, civil society, and human rights activists in India and its diaspora on the genocide in India and how it impacts Meta’s operations.
- Immediately release the Indian Human RIghts Audit, which so far the company has refused to share.
“We’re deeply distressed by the inconsistent positions related to India and we are deeply concerned that Meta is looking the other way while dangerous groups are inflicting violence and terrorizing Indian communities,” said Alliance member Dr. Ritumbra Manuvie who besides being founder director of Stichting The London Story is also a native from Faridabad a region impacted by violence.
The Global Alliance Against Digital Hate and Extremism is an international movement, supported by more than 70 civil society organizations from across the world, mobilizing collective action for a safe, fair, and just online experience for everyone.
“Meta has a responsibility to keep its users and the communities and democracies its platforms impact safe. Civil society shouldn’t have to do its work for them especially when the dangers are so distressingly obvious. Members of the Global Alliance Against Digital Hate and Extremism have once again clearly outlined the specifics of how this group meets Meta’s dangerous organization threshold, and Meta should act today, as they should have years ago,” said Wendy Via, Alliance member and co-founder of Global Project Against Hate and Extremism.
Many of Alliance’s members are Meta’s trusted partners and have worked globally to build accountability from the platforms on the issues of far-right hate and extremism.
Steering committee members of the Alliance:
Conscious Advertising Network
Fair Vote UK
FOA (Fighting Online Semitism)
Global Project Against Hate and Extremism
Greek Helsinki Monitor
“NEVER AGAIN” Association
Red Dot Foundation
The London Story
Other groups who signed the letter:
South Asia Solidarity Group
International Council of Indian Muslims
SADAC (South Asian Diaspora Action Collective-Montreal)
18 Million Rising
Czech Helsinki Committee
India Civil Watch International