As the National Assembly election period is set to begin in weeks, social media, especially Facebook, is rife with defamatory contents and fake accounts.

However, these accounts could become history soon.

Kuensel learnt that a team of experts from Facebook India Online Services Pvt Ltd (FIOSPL) was in the country for three days to discuss among others how to keep social media platform free of such accounts and content.

At a workshop with about 100 attendants on how entrepreneurs can use Facebook to boost their business yesterday, participants raised questions on disturbing content on Facebook, fake accounts, and online safety.

Participants said that fake accounts were posting “terrible content” online, including defamatory and disturbing photos on Facebook and that such content and accounts have increased over the years.

“How can I, my family, and loved ones be safe,” one of the participants asked.

FIOSPL Associate Manager of Public policy open Internet and privacy, Snehashish Ghosh, said, “In terms of fake profiles the best thing is to report.”

A user can report on every piece of post on Facebook, the official said.

“Our systems will pick it up and remove it.”

He said that Facebook policy does not allow fake accounts on the platform. “Facebook has community standards that govern what the users can share or not share. For instance, one cannot share nude photos.”

He added that in severe cases, individuals can reach out to the IT and telecom department.

Another official from the same company, Raj Arora, said that there is an initiative for online safety as well.  Facebook is reaching out to colleges and institutions to create awareness and is propagating basic hygiene etiquettes on staying safe online are propagated.

He said that there were various checks and balances.

“The most important thing at the core of what we are doing is we don’t want the experience of people coming on the platform to be jeopardised,” he said.  “Anything that you feel you can easily report, there are certain channels established to it but if there are severe escalations then we are happy to refer to the IT department and they can check if the information is real or someone is trying to push some propaganda.”

As a platform, though, freedom of speech and democracy are important, he added.

He said that users should refrain from buying advertisement online unless one fully understands it.

Tshering Palden