Facebook engages Indian IT firms to stop fake news on its platform

Facebook engages Indian IT firms to stop fake news on its platform
Mark Zuckerberg  |  Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Reuters
31 Dec, 2018

Mark Zuckerberg-led social network Facebook has started outsourcing  processes such as content moderation and analytics to Indian infotech (IT) service providers such as HCL Technologies, Wipro and Tech Mahindra, in order to curtail fake news, The Economic Times reported.

According to the report, which cites people in the know, the Menlo Park-headquartered company, which is already under pressure from the government over fake news, has also initiated talks with other tech service providers such as Accenture and Genpact.

One of the persons in the report said that the total value of the contracts Facebook was offering to all companies could be $400 million and is likely to increase. Facebook had earlier adopted the strategy of automating content moderation and had removed humans from its own department.

The report also claimed that neither Facebook nor Accenture nor Genpact wanted to speak about the new development. A Wipro spokesperson told the newspaper that the company had entered its silent period due to its upcoming third-quarter results.

Furthermore, Facebook-owned instant messaging platform WhatsApp has come under flak from the government for fake news. The government has asked the app to run campaigns and adverts that discourage the spread of false news.

In October, Infibeam Avenues, the listed parent of e-commerce company Infibeam, had made a formal complaint to the country’s IT minister and capital markets regulator that a rumour circulated on WhatsApp was responsible for the fall in the company’s share price.

In August, following a spate of mob lynching incidents triggered by rumours on WhatsApp, IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad met WhatsApp chief executive Chris Daniels and asked him to take remedial measures. 

These included appointing a grievance officer to check lewd messages and inflammatory content. The government had also asked WhatsApp to ensure traceability of messages being circulated at a mass level in an area at a particular point in time.