Freehand given to BJP IT cell’s chief to remove Instagram posts, Meta rubbishes allegations, email contrary to it leaked

The Wire in its detailed report on 10th October alleged that posts on Instagram against Uttar Pradesh’s CM, Yogi Adityanath, were removed when reported by Amit Malviya, who heads BJP’s infamous IT cell. The said post was removed on the grounds of “sexual content and nudity”, when there was no sign of nudity in the picture.

The said post was removed within a few minutes of its upload, initially thought to be an algorithm glitch, The Wire from a source from Meta found that it was not so. The company removed the post when reported by Amit Malviya’s account, without any questions asked.

Malviya according to the Wire reported 705 posts in September alone and all were taken down.

The parent company of Instagram is Meta, which also owns Facebook and WhatsApp. Malviya is a participant in Meta’s ‘XCheck’ or ‘Cross Check’ program, according to the Instagram report on the @cringearchivist post. Under the guise of protecting prominent users, this program, which was a closely-guarded company secret until it was first revealed by the Wall Street Journal in September 2021, permits a list of ‘elite’ accounts on Meta platforms (belonging mostly to celebrities and politicians) to flout the rules, which the company claims apply to everyone. The initiative was created to stop the negative publicity that occasionally resulted from actions taken against famous users.

When this story came out Meta’s spokesperson and Meta’s policy communications director Andy Stone had this to say,

But stone’s public claims of X-check having “nothing to do with the ability to report posts. The posts in question were surfaced for review by automated systems, not humans” were contrary to what he sent in an email to Meta employees.

In an angry email, starting “How the hell” the news got leaked, Andy Stone directs Meta employees to keep Wire’s Journalist Jahnavi Sen who broke out the news and its editor Sidharath Varadarajan.

According to The Wire this email by Stone only confirms The Wire’s story, what it dismissed as ‘fabricated’ earlier.

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