Facebook India is facing political heat in India after a report in the Wall Street Journal.(File photo for representation)
Facebook India is facing political heat in India after a report in the Wall Street Journal.(File photo for representation)

‘Facebook denounces hate and bigotry’, says its India chief amid content row

A parliamentary standing committee headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has summoned representatives of the social media company to appear before it on September 2
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by: Amit Chaturvedi | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON AUG 21, 2020 09:08 PM IST

Social media giant Facebook, which is in the midst of a political row in India, has said that it is an open, transparent and non-partisan organisation.

“Over the last few days, we have been accused of bias in the way we enforce our policies. We take allegations of bias incredibly seriously, and want to make it clear that we denounce hate and bigotry in any form. We take this opportunity to offer clarity on policy development and enforcement at Facebook,” Ajit Mohan, Vice President and Managing Director, Facebook India, said in a statement on Friday.

Facebook also publicly defended its employees, amidst protest from its global staff about bias in India.

“This also reflects in our organizational set up - like a truly diverse organization, our employees represent a varied political spectrum who have either served in many administrations or have political experience and take immense pride in being active contributors to public service. Despite hailing from diverse political affiliations and backgrounds, they perform their respective duties and interpret our policies in a fair and non-partisan way,” the statement further said.

“The decisions around content escalations are not made unilaterally by just one person; rather, they are inclusive of views from different teams and disciplines within the company,” Mohan said in the statement.

Read the full statement here

The controversy around Facebook India erupted after a Wall Street Journal report showed that the company’s top lobbyist in India recommended against taking down hate speech posts of a BJP leader on the ground that this could spoil the media company’s relationship with the government.

A parliamentary standing committee on information and technology has summoned representatives of the social media company to appear before it on September 2 to present their views on the issue of safeguarding citizens’ rights and prevention of misuse of social and online news media.

The committee is headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor.

The Congress party has said that it will raise the issue of Facebook’s alleged nexus with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Parliament’s monsoon session which is expected to begin from September 10.

The Congress wrote to Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday saying the social media company may be “a willing participant in thwarting the rights and values India’s founding leaders had sacrificed their lives for”.

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