Facebook toughens political ad policies in India ahead of election

Under intense global public scrutiny, Facebook last year introduced several initiatives to increase oversight of political ads. (File/AFP)
Updated 08 February 2019
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Facebook toughens political ad policies in India ahead of election

  • Users will see political advertisements with “published by” and “paid by” disclaimers
  • The new features and policy becomes effective Feb. 21

NEW DELHI: Facebook Inc. is toughening up the rules governing political advertisements in India to create more transparency ahead of the country’s general elections due before May, the social media giant said late on Thursday.
Users will see political advertisements with “published by” and “paid by” disclaimers, the Menlo Park, California-headquartered company said in a statement.
The move comes weeks after Facebook told Reuters it would extend some of its political advertising rules and tools for curbing election interference to India, Nigeria, Ukraine and the European Union before significant votes in these places in the next few months.
Users will be able to access a library that allows them to search and find out more about political advertisements such as how much is spent on them and the demographics of advertising views, Facebook said.
People will soon also be able to see country locations of users who manage Facebook pages that carry political ads.
“By increasing transparency around ads and pages on Facebook, we hope to increase accountability for advertisers, help people assess the content they’re seeing and prevent future abuse in elections,” Facebook said.
The new features and policy becomes effective Feb. 21.
The moves are part of Facebook’s attempts to reshape its public image which took a beating last year after a privacy scandal involving British data consultancy Cambridge Analytica.
The company has also faced intense pressure from India, one of the world’s biggest Internet markets, to curb the spread of misinformation through its WhatsApp messenger that has lead to a spate of killings.
Facebook said it is also making it tougher to run a page using a fake account by introducing two-factor authentication and by asking for page administrators’ primary country location.
In past few years Facebook has effectively been used globally by politicians and their adversaries to distribute fake news and other propaganda.
Ads on Facebook can widen the reach of such material, but some of those influence efforts may violate election rules and the company’s policies.
Under intense global public scrutiny, Facebook last year introduced several initiatives to increase oversight of political ads.


REVIEW: Second season of Sacred Games mirrors the ills of today's India

Updated 17 August 2019
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REVIEW: Second season of Sacred Games mirrors the ills of today's India

CHENNAI: The first season of “Sacred Games” last year was a hit, and the second edition, which began streaming on Netflix on Aug. 15, may be even more so.

The eight episodes explore some of India's most pressing current issues such as a nuclear threat, terrorism and inter-religious animosity dating back to the country's 1947 partition. It. It also addresses how religious men can indulge in the most unholy of acts, including helping corrupt politicians.

Some of the greatest films have had conflict and war as their backdrop: “Gone with the Wind,” “Casablanca,” “Ben-Hur” and “Garam Hawa,” to mention a few. The second season of “Sacred Games” also unfolds in such a scenario, with terrorism and inter-communal disharmony having a rippling effect on the nation.

Directed by Anurag Kashyap (“Gangs of Wasseypur,” “Black Friday”) and Neeraj Ghaywan (“Masaan,” which premiered at Cannes in 2015), the web series, based on Vikram Chandra's 2006 novel, unfolds with Ganesh Gaitonde (played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui) escaping from prison and finding himself in Mombasa. He has been carted there by an agent of India's

Research and Analysis Wing, Kusum Devi Yadav (Amruta Subhash), who forces him to help find Shahid Khan (Ranvir Shorey), the mastermind behind bomb blasts and terror attacks.

In Mumbai, police inspector Sartaj (Saif Ali Khan) has just two weeks to save the city from a nuclear attack, which Gaitonde had warned him about. Both men love Mumbai and do not want it to be destroyed. But religious extremist Khanna Guruji (Pankaj Tripathi) and his chief disciple Batya Ableman (Kalki Koechlin) believe that only such a catastrophic destruction can help cleanse society and bring a cleaner, saner new order.

A narrative of deceit, betrayal, love and longing, the second season has a plodding start, but picks up steam from the fourth episode, with Sartaj and his men racing against time to find a nuclear time bomb that could wipe out Mumbai. Crude dialogue and a constant doomsday atmosphere could have been avoided, but riveting performances by the lead pair – Khan and Siddiqui (though he is getting typecast in this kind of role) – and nail-biting thrills make this Netflix original dramatically captivating.