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In Just 21 Days, Facebook Led New India User to Porn, Fake News

Facebook’s content problems abroad may be even worse than in the U.S.

400 Million Social Media Users Set to Lose Anonymity in India
Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

In February 2019, Facebook Inc. set up a test account in India to determine how its own algorithms affect what people see in one of its fastest growing  and most important overseas markets. The results stunned the company’s own staff.

Within three weeks, the new user’s feed turned into a maelstrom of fake news and incendiary images. There were graphic photos of beheadings, doctored images of India air strikes against Pakistan and jingoistic scenes of violence. One group for “things that make you laugh” included fake news of 300 terrorists who died in a bombing in Pakistan.