Facebook Refuses To Ban Extremist Religious Group Over Concerns Of Security And Business Fallout

Facebook, despite having been provided enough evidence of a breach against their online policy, has declined to ban the religious extremist Indian group, entitled Bajrang Dal.

The social media conglomerate's policies on information censorship have proven to be incredibly inconsistent over the years, to understate a point. Recently, the app has taken to banning all sorts of anti-vaccination groups and proponents, in a notable effort to quell conspiracies about the COVID-19 vaccine. On the other hand, it spectacularly failed to stem any and all spread of misinformation during the 2020 USA election, a feat that was met with much derision from both laymen and the app's own team members. This new development, however, goes a step much further than political squabbles and tinfoil hats.

Bajrang Dal, formed in 1984, is the bane of religious minorities across India, particularly Muslims and Christians. The group has been highlighted by outside forces such as the Human Rights Watch, situated in New York, and the US State Department as a Hindu extremist group that should not be taken lightly. Rightfully so. While the group's website claims that it looks to establish religious equality through nonviolent means, actions speak louder than words. Bajrang Dal has been associated with multiple mass attacks against both Muslims and Christians, actively contributing to a hostile environment against the religions. Their involvement in the 2002 Gujrat Riots, and the attacks on Newlife churches in Karnataka have made the group a target of criticism both inside and outside of India. Except from Facebook, of course.

While Facebook's security team has very clearly labelled Bajrang Dal as a threat to online harmony, developers have yet to take steps against their formidable online presence. A report by the Wall Street Journal states that the reason as to why no action has taken place is because moving against the group possibly threatens the safety of Facebook's team in India, and also carries the risk of harming business prospects. Bajrang Dal has alleged ties to the current ruling party in India, the Bharata Janata Party (or BJP for short). Therefore, Facebook only sees trouble in rocking the boat belonging to one of their biggest markets worldwide.

However, even with all of the evidence considered, this move comes off as strictly self-serving. In a clumsy attempt to save face and make bank, Facebook actively enables a group labelled the Indian equivalent of Sturmabteilung (a Nazi political cell during World War II Germany). The online platform that's meant to serve as a home to all is now teeming with religious extremists that, due to Facebook's inaction, can slander and abuse with impunity, gaining an audience in the process as well.



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