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Ex BBC veteran Trushar Barot to lead Facebook India fight against fake news


To combat fake news in India, Facebook has hired BBC senior digital strategist Trushar Barot. He is expected to join the company in early January 2019.

The development comes soon after the Indian government’s direction to all global internet and social media platforms to have local grievance officers. The home ministry also asked them to remove objectionable contents by developing a proper filter.

According to Barot’s Twitter post, he will lead and develop integrity initiatives for Facebook in the country.

Apart from combating fake news menace, Barot hints collaboration with startups targeted to bring positive impact on the digital development of the country.

Barot had a long stint at BBC that spanned for over 17 years across various roles. Since July 2017, he was based out of Delhi as the BBC’s digital editor in Indian languages. Under his leadership, the media conglomerate rolled out digital news services in Marathi, Telugu, Gujarati, and Punjabi.

His appointment is a major step in addressing the states’ escalating concern over fake news circulation. The Mark Zuckerberg-led company has been investing heavily in artificial intelligence and hiring specialised workforce to check violence and abuse of the platform.

For instance, it has hired more than 20,000 people this year to work on safety and security. In India, it’s establishing a task force comprising “hundreds of people” to prevent bad actors from abusingFacebook.

Meanwhile, Facebook had roped in Hotstar CEO to head its India operations last month. It is worth noting that Facebook was running without a country head in the country for about a year (since October 2017).

Reacting to the Supreme Court’s directed to hire a grievance officer, Facebook-owned WhatsApp had recently appointed Komal Lahiri to sort out local users concerns. However, other internet and social media platforms are yet to comply apex court’s direction.

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