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Hate speech complaints: Delhi Assembly panel summons Facebook official

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By
Sep 12, 2020 02:28 PM IST

The notice came weeks after the committee in its second hearing on August 31 had said that prima facie it had found that Facebook was complicit in aggravating the Delhi riots in northeast Delhi in February, leaving 53 dead and over 400 injured

The Delhi Assembly’s peace and harmony committee has summoned Facebook India vice-president and managing director Ajit Mohan in connection with complaints about the social media company’s alleged “deliberate and intentional inaction to contain hateful content” in the country.

Ajit Mohan, Vice-President and Managing Director, Facebook India.(Sourced)
Ajit Mohan, Vice-President and Managing Director, Facebook India.(Sourced)

The panel, headed by Aam Aadmi Party leader and MLA from Rajendra Nagar Raghav Chadha, has issued a notice asking Mohan to appear before it on September 15 on the Delhi Vidhan Sabha premises.

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“The summons were issued on the basis of scathing depositions of key witnesses as well as incriminating material submitted by them on record,” the committee said in an official statement Saturday.

The notice came weeks after the committee in its second hearing on August 31 had said that prima facie it had found that Facebook was complicit in aggravating the Delhi riots in northeast Delhi in February, leaving 53 dead and over 400 injured.

The committee is investigating the matter after it took cognisance of “several complaints” received from people based on an article published in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on August 14. The report titled ‘Facebook hate speech rules collide with Indian politics’ stated that Facebook officials, especially its top public policy executive in India, Ankhi Das, allegedly cited business imperatives while choosing not to apply hate-speech rules to at least four individuals and groups linked with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India, despite their being internally flagged for promoting or participating in violence.

Also Read: Back to roots: Facebook starts app within app called campus

Delhi Police have not charged BJP leader Kapil Mishra in connection with the riots yet. Mishra was accused of delivering inflammatory speeches before the riots. Mishra, however, denied the charges and said that he had not violated any law.

“We hereby summon you (Ajit Mohan) to appear before the committee on September 15, 2020 at 12 Noon at MLA Lounge- 1, Delhi Vidhan Sabha, for the purpose of recording your deposition on oath and participating in the proceedings carried out by the committee,” read the summons issued by Delhi Assembly’s deputy secretary on September 10. HT has seen a copy of the notice.

HT has contacted Facebook for a comment.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Sweta Goswami writes on politics, urban development, transportation, energy and social welfare. Based in Delhi, she tracks government policies and suggests corrections based on public feedback and on-ground implementation through her reports. She has also covered the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) since its inception.

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