‘Consider new team, order time-bound inquiry’: Congress writes to Mark Zuckerberg over Facebook-BJP ties

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Updated: Aug 18, 2020 4:53 PM

Rahul Gandhi had earlier alleged that Facebook flouted its own rules against the circulation of hate speech on its platform by not taking action against such posts shared by people linked to the ruling BJP.

Congress has accused Facebook India of interfering with the country’s electoral democracy.

The opposition Congress has written to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg demanding a time-bound high level probe into the conduct of the Facebook India leadership team. Party general secretary KC Venugopal said that the Congress has asked the US-based social media giant to consider a new team to lead Facebook India. He also accused Facebook India of ‘interfering’ with the country’s electoral democracy, and demanded a time-bound high level inquiry into the team’s operations.

“Set up a high level inquiry by Facebook headquarters into the Facebook India leadership team and their operations and submit a report to the Board of Facebook within one or two months. The report should also be made public,” Venugopal said in the letter.

Sharing the letter on his Twitter handle, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said that Facebook needs to be questioned by all Indians.

“We cannot allow any manipulation of our hard-earned democracy through bias, fake news and hate speech. As exposed by WSJ, Facebook’s involvement in peddling fake and hate news needs to be questioned by all Indians,” he tweeted.

Rahul had earlier alleged that Facebook flouted its own rules against the circulation of hate speech on its platform by not taking action against posts shared by people linked to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, a charge categorically rejected by the saffron party. Rahul had referred to a report published in The Wall Street Journal on August 14 to attest his claim.

Earlier on Monday, Facebook said the company’s social media platform prohibits hate speech and content that incites violence, adding these policies are enforced globally without regard to political affiliation. The social media, however, acknowledged that “there is more to do”.

Facebook “May be a willing participant in thwarting the rights and values that the founding leaders of the Congress sacrificed their lives for”, Venugopal said, and asked the US firm to publish all instances of “hate speech posts since 2014 that were allowed on the platform.”

“The WSJ article mentions hate speech of at least three other politicians that were wilfully permitted by Facebook India,” he said.

The Congress, he said, is joined by other leading political parties in the country in “expressing fear over Facebook’s purported role in manipulating India’s electoral democracy”.

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