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Congress writes to Mark Zuckerberg, seeks internal inquiry on ‘fake news’, findings be made public

“The atmosphere of propagating false news and hatred under Facebook India's patronage is becoming extremely dangerous and Facebook is becoming irresponsible,” Rohan Gupta, social media head of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), wrote in his letter to Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.(AFP)
Published on Nov 13, 2021 03:41 PM IST
Written by Srivatsan K C | Edited by Meenakshi Ray, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The Congress party has asked Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg for an internal inquiry regarding the issue of fake news and inflammatory content being spread on the social media platform during the Bharatiya Janata Party’s rule.

Rohan Gupta, social media head of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), wrote the letter to Mark Zuckerberg, news agency ANI reported. “By making Facebook a weapon, BJP has done business of hate,” Gupta also said in a tweet.

“The atmosphere of propagating false news and hatred under Facebook India's patronage is becoming extremely dangerous and Facebook is becoming irresponsible,” he told news agency ANI.

He also wondered if Facebook was “responsible” to someone owing to the large user base the platform has in the country. “Today, nearly 37 crore people in the country are using Facebook in our country. This is a matter of 'serving hatred' to those people. Is Facebook responsible for someone? How is Facebook fulfilling this responsibility?” he asked.

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Gupta in his letter urged Zuckerberg to conduct an internal inquiry into the functioning of Facebook India and make the findings public. “It is your responsibility as the head of this organisation to hold those responsible for betraying our people accountable for their actions,” ANI reported, citing an excerpt from the letter.

Further, he also shared a list of three “facts” which he claimed had come to the light. “Firstly, according to a report, when Facebook staff points out hatred and fake news content being spread through Facebook in India, the Facebook executives reply that it is not that big an issue, it is not a problem,” he said.

“This hatred is hollowing out India's brotherhood and is weakening India. Facebook India seems to not have a problem with it and more importantly, BJP has no problem by weakening India due to hatred,” he added.

“The second fact is that when inflammatory content, fake news was being spread on Facebook, the social media giant chose to ignore its own internal reports on the problem. Instead, Facebook India reduced the number of people in its team who controlled such,” he said. He also alleged that the BJP “took advantage” of this situation.

“The third fact is shocking. In the Facebook India report, it said that during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, BJP-RSS spread fake information, hatred among people at an alarming level to win elections and Facebook India also allowed it to spread,” he further claimed.

“Facebook India is not only escaping from its responsibilities but also highlighting, forming the nexus of spreading lies and hatred. But we will not allow the land of India to be used for spreading lies and hatred,” he added.

Gupta letter to Zuckerberg comes after party MP Gaurav Gogoi wrote to Facebook India managing director Ajit Mohan expressing “vehement disdain and alarm pertaining to the recent revelations made by former employees of Facebook Inc. regarding their internal policies and action taken relating to the moderation of content on your platform.”

“Considering the pivotal role Facebook plays today in disseminating information and shaping public opinion, such allegations if true are likely to have an adverse public impact,” Gogoi said in his letter.

(With ANI inputs)

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