On October 13, The Intercept revealed a list of over 4,000 names of individuals and organizations that are included in Facebook’s Dangerous Individuals and Organizations (DIO) Community Standard policy. The main aim of the policy is to ensure Facebook, as a platform, is not used or accused of helping terrorists or organizations to spread propaganda. Notably, the restrictions can be traced back to 2012, when there were concerns expressed by US Congress and the United Nations about social media platforms being used for terror recruitments.
The list of organizations and individuals include Khalistani terrorist organizations, terrorists linked to such organizations and the Communist Party of India (Maoist).
Khalistan movement linked organizations and individuals
- Bhindranwale Tiger Force of Khalistan
- Khalistan Commando Force Terror
- Khalistan Liberation Force Terror
- Khalistan Tiger Force Terror
- Khalistan Zindabad Force and its five members Bhupinder Singh Bhinda, Gurmeet Singh Bagga, Harminder Singh Mintoo, Paramjit Singh Panjwar and Ranjeet Singh Neeta
- Lakhbir Singh Rode, nephew of Khalistan terrorist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his organization International Sikh Youth Foundation
Communist, regional and Naxal organizations from India
- Communist Party of India – Maoist
- Kangleipak Communist Party
- All Tripura Tiger Force Terror South Asia, India
- Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland – Isak-Muivah
- People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak Terror
- United Liberation Front of Asom
- The Base Movement
Islamic organizations linked to India
- Al Alam Media, the India Media Wing Ansar Ghazwat-Ul-Hind
- Al Sahab Indian Subcontinent, the Media Wing al Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent, al Qaeda Central Command
- Al-Badr Mujahideen
- Al-Mursalat Media, the India Media Wing Islamic State
- Al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent
- Dawat-e-Haq Terror India Media Wing Islamic State
- Indian Mujahedeen Terror South Asia
- Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen Terror South Asia, India, Pakistan
- Saham al-Hind Media Terror India, Bangladesh, Pakistan Media Wing Jemaah Islamiyah, Jamaat Ul Mujahideen Bangladesh, al Qaeda Central Command
- Sowth al-Hind Terror India, Pakistan Media Wing Islamic State
- The Resistance Front
- Afzal Guru Squad
- Al Rashid Trust
- Al Rehmat Trust
- Al-Aqsa Media Jammu & Kashmir
- Islamic State Jammu & Kashmir
- Jaish-e-Mohammed Kashmir
- Tehreek-e-Azadi of Jammu Kashmir
- Wilayat Kashmir
Pakistan’s Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and 78 individuals linked to the organization have also been added to the list. The list contains a total of 52 entries originating from Pakistan. Similarly, six Islamic terror organizations from Bangladesh are also on the list.
After the Taliban had captured Afghanistan, it was banned by Facebook from the platform. It had said that it banned the Taliban and all content supporting it from all its platforms as it is considered a terrorist organisation under US Law.
The policy got strict with time
When the DIO policy was implemented initially by Facebook, it was a modest rule that would ban anything hateful or dangerous to save the users. However, as time passed by, it has turned into a large set of restrictions applicable across 3-Billion strong user base of the social media platform. The blacklist that has been recently revealed include over 4,000 people and groups that includes writers, politicians, charities, music acts and historical figures.
Interestingly, though former US President Donald Trump was banned from Facebook, stating hate speech and other policies, his name is not included in the list. However, there are five militarized social movements in favour, and one against Trump added to the list. It is noteworthy that from time to time, there have been requests submitted to Facebook to make the list public, but the company has refused to do so.
Facebook has repeatedly claimed that revealing the list would put its employees in danger. However, The Intercept stated that no such information was provided to them. On Multiple Occasions, the Oversight Board of the company had recommended making the list public as it was “in the public interest.”
In a statement, Facebook’s policy director for counterterrorism and dangerous organizations, Brian Fishman, said, “We don’t want terrorists, hate groups or criminal organizations on our platform, which is why we ban them and remove content that praises, represents or supports them. A team of more than 350 specialists at Facebook is focused on stopping these organizations and assessing emerging threats. We currently ban thousands of organizations, including over 250 white supremacist groups at the highest tiers of our policies, and we regularly update our policies and organizations who qualify to be banned.”
Notably, most of the names in the list came from the US government. Around 1,000 entries have “designation source” of “SDGT,” or Specially Designated Global Terrorists written in front of them that means those names were picked from the list that Treasury Department maintains. It was created by the George W. Bush administration after the 9/11 attack.
What to ignore and what to remove: A detailed document
The Intercept also published an 11-page document that detailed out what kind of content is allowed on Facebook and what should be removed with immediate effect. For example, Facebook would delete content linked to terrorist organizations, hate organizations and their leaders, people who have committed mass murder or multiple murders, criminal organizations, and violent non-state actors. In the Indian context, statements like “joined Hizbul Mujahadeen to fight for the future of Kashmir”, “Hizbul Mujahideen is looking out for Kashmiris like me “, and “Hizbul Mujahideen is winning the war for a free and independent Kashmir” are not allowed.
The detailed report The Intercept can be read here.