Congress writes to Mark Zuckerberg, calls for company probe into Facebook India’s hate-speech bias
The Congress party on Tuesday asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to probe allegations that the social media company’s India team meted out favourable treatment towards the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
KC Venugopal, Congress’ general secretary (organisation), has written to Zuckerberg referring to the Wall Street Journal report, which alleged that Facebook’s India policy head Ankhi Das ‘provided the Bharatiya Janata Party with favourable treatment on election-related issues’. He also asked Zuckerberg to set up a high-level inquiry into the Facebook India leadership team and their operations.
“This is a damning and serious allegation of Facebook India’s interference in India’s electoral democracy,” Venugopal has said in the letter.
“As India’s oldest political party that fought for the nation’s freedom and established electoral democracy through adult franchise, it is deeply disturbing to note that your company may be a willing participant in thwarting the very rights and values that our founding leaders sacrificed their lives for,” he added.
The Congress party has asked the company to make public all instances of hate speech posts since 2014 that were allowed on the platform. The party has also suggested a new team to lead the India operations must be appointed till the high-level inquiry is completed.
A war of words erupted between the Congress and the BJP following the Wall Street Journal report. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had accused the BJP and RSS of spreading “fake news” using Facebook and WhatsApp to influence the electorate, triggering a sharp counter-attack from Union IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. Prasad, on his part, reminded the opposition party of its involvement in the Cambridge Analytica issue.
Congress and the CPI (M) have demanded a probe by a joint parliamentary committee into the allegations. Union parliamentary affairs minister Prahlad Joshi has dismissed the call for a JPC probe.
Facebook is yet to comment over Congress’ demand.
(With agency inputs)
Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox
- In MP, the positivity rate increased to 2.3% on Thursday and there are 2,435 active cases in the state.
- CSE’s director general Sunita Narian said Covid-19 had made the world’s poor poorer.
- This was the first formal contact between Jaishankar and Wang since they met on the margins of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Moscow on September 10 last year, and it came days after India and China pulled back frontline troops from strategic heights around Pangong Lake.
- Aparna Purohit was accused of the inappropriate depiction of UP police personnel, Hindu deities and adverse portrayal of a character playing the PM.
- PM Modi was in the two-poll bound neighbouring regions to launch a slew of infrastructure projects meant to give his regional allies a fillip.
- Here are today’s top news, analysis, and opinion. Know all about the latest news and other news updates from Hindustan Times.
- According to a press release by the ministry of health, Kerala has administered the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to 85.09 per cent of the beneficiaries.