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Facebook rubbishes claims that it sent someone to verify a politically-charged post

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Social media companies, especially Facebook, are under a lot of pressure to ensure transparency on their platform as we edge forward to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

A report by news wire agency IANS now states that Facebook is sending company representatives to users’ homes to verify if a post with political views in it was actually written by them.

The report states that Facebook sent a representative to a user in Delhi and asked for his Aadhaar card as validation for a post with political views.

Representational image.

“It was like cops coming to your door for passport verification,” the person told IANS.

The report states that a formal investigation into the incident has not been launched yet, but as per cyber law expert and Supreme Court advocate, Pavan Duggal, “This action, if true, clearly infringes upon the privacy of a user. Sending a representative to physically verifying a user is a blatant invasion of his or her private space.”

Duggal stated that as a social media platform, Facebook is only allowed to discontinue a Page, Group or delete the post, or remove the user from its platform.

Facebook was quick to deny that such an incident occurred. Speaking to Mint, a Facebook spokesperson said, “Facebook does not conduct any form of physical verification in India, except for an advertiser who plans to run ads related to politics or issues of national importance in India.”

The statement also clarified that in India, Facebook requires off platform checks only for those who intend to run political ads or ads related to issues of national importance. Facebook requires these entities to go through what the company calls an ‘ad authorisation process’. As part of this process, an advertiser is allowed the choice of verification, either through a letter or by scheduling an in-person visit.

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