NEW DELHI: Facebook on Monday said it quickly introduced measures to remove the abusive comments against Indian cricketer Mohammed Shami, who faced criticism on social media following the national team’s first-ever loss to Pakistan in World Cup history.
The US-based company, which has itself been courting controversy over its handling of hate speech in India, said it will “continue to take action against those that violate its Community Standards”.
“No one should have to experience abuse anywhere, and we don’t want it on our platforms. We quickly introduced measures to remove the comments that directed abuse at an Indian cricketer and we’ll continue to take action against those that violate our Community Standards,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
The spokesperson also said the company has recently announced updates to its bullying and harassment policy that increases protection for all public figures.
“Additionally, we have tools like Hidden Words that protect you from having to see bullying comments and abuse in your Direct Message requests, and Limits, which protects you when you experience or anticipate a rush of abusive comments and messages,” the spokesperson noted.
Facebook’s rules do not allow attacks on people based on their protected characteristics, which includes race, religion, nationality or sexual orientation. This includes the use of emojis when used in a hateful context. Bullying and harassment is also not allowed on the platform.
Facebook has also introduced a number of tools and features to help users, especially celebrities to manage unwanted or abusive interactions. While Shami has been one of India’s best fast bowlers in recent times and has performed well over the last five years, the trolls on social media linked his ordinary performance on Sunday night to his religion.
There were also several people who offered support to the 31-year-old cricketer. Other Indian players were also trolled online after the crushing loss on Sunday. India lost their T20 World Cup opener by 10 wickets on Sunday with Shami emerging the most expensive bowler on the night, giving away 43 runs in 3.5 overs.
Former and current India stars such as Sachin Tendulkar, along with some political bigwigs, extended their support to Shami.