Meta’s Massive Content Purge in India: A Comprehensive Analysis
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Meta’s Massive Content Purge in India: A Comprehensive Analysis

In November 2023, in a significant move for digital content governance, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, initiated the ‘Meta Content Purge India’. This major step in their content moderation efforts led to the purging of over 23 million pieces of content in India, deemed inappropriate or in violation of their policies. This article delves into the details of this massive undertaking, examining the types of content removed under the ‘Meta Content Purge India’, the policies involved, and the broader implications for digital content governance in the country.


Background: Meta’s Content Moderation Landscape

Meta’s platforms, notably Facebook and Instagram, have long faced scrutiny over the handling of problematic content. In response, the company has developed a complex system of policies and guidelines to identify and remove content that violates its standards. This system includes automated tools, human reviewers, and user reports to manage content on a large scale.


The November 2023 Purge: Numbers and Policies

In November 2023, Meta’s efforts in content moderation reached a new peak in India. The company removed over 18.3 million pieces of content on Facebook and over 4.7 million on Instagram. These actions were governed by 13 policies for Facebook and 12 for Instagram, covering a range of issues from hate speech to misinformation.

Facebook’s Content Removal

  • Total Content Removed: Over 18.3 million pieces
  • Governing Policies: 13 different policies
  • User Reports and Action: Received 21,149 reports through the Indian grievance mechanism, with actions taken in 10,710 cases.

Instagram’s Content Removal

  • Total Content Removed: Over 4.7 million pieces
  • Governing Policies: 12 different policies
  • User Reports and Action: Received 11,138 reports, with actions taken in 4,209 cases.


Meta’s Compliance with IT Rules 2021

These actions align with the IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. As per these regulations, large digital and social media platforms must publish monthly compliance reports. This requirement ensures transparency and accountability in content moderation practices.

Meta’s Methodology in Content Moderation

Meta’s approach to content moderation includes:

  • Content Removal: Taking down posts, photos, videos, or comments that violate standards.
  • Content Covering: Applying warnings on content that might be disturbing to some audiences.
  • Review and Action: Specialised review for reported content, with appropriate actions taken.


October 2023 Comparison

In October 2023, Meta had removed over 33.6 million pieces of content on Facebook and over 3.4 million on Instagram, indicating a fluctuating pattern in content moderation needs and actions.


Implications for Digital Governance

Meta’s aggressive content moderation in India highlights several key issues:

  • The Scale of Digital Content: The sheer volume of content needing moderation underscores the challenges faced by large platforms.
  • Policy Enforcement: The effectiveness of policies in managing diverse types of content.
  • User Engagement: The role of user reports in the moderation process, emphasising community involvement.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Adherence to local laws and regulations, like India’s IT Rules 2021.

Meta’s significant purge of content in India is a testament to the ongoing challenges and responsibilities of digital platforms in moderating online content. As the digital landscape evolves, so too must the strategies and policies employed by companies like Meta to ensure a safe and respectful online environment. This undertaking in India serves as a critical case study in the global discourse on digital content governance and platform accountability.

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