After the shooting of a teenager Nahel M. by the French police, France has erupted into unprecedented violence. The French far-right has been quick to blame Muslim immigrants for the escalation.
In our new report “How Facebook is allowing the Indian far-right in stoking Islamophobic narrative in the wake of French crisis”, we show how xenophobic disinformation around the violence in France is being supported from the most unexpected of places: India.
We show that the French protests are being used as a means to rationalise and further perpetuate violence against Indian Muslims. A disinformation account has been allowed to freely circulate demands that Hindu supremacist Yogi Adityanath, the Chief Minister of the Indian state Uttar Pradesh, should go to France and attack Muslims. Other accounts have been allowed to freely circulate the false news that Adityanath in fact sent bulldozers to France, to demolish the homes of French protestors. This transnational co-option of narrative and Islamophobia is stoked by social media such as Twitter and Facebook, who fail to remove content that violates its platform guidelines. This has detrimental consequences: Hindu supremacists in India are successfully using the violence in France to incriminate and delegitimize Indian Muslims on social media, and are successfully giving far-right French nationalists an audience of hundreds of thousands.