Rajeev Chandrasekhar accuses social media platforms of bias, demands law to fix accountability

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Updated: July 17, 2019 9:07 PM

Rajya Sabha: BJP member Rajeev Chandrasekhar accused tech giants of bias, seeking a law to fix their accountability.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, BJPAlgorithmic Accountability Bill: BJP MP asked the government to fix the accountability of social media platforms.

Algorithmic Accountability Bill: Tech entrepreneur and Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrasekhar Wednesday accused the social media platforms of using automated computer codes to violate the freedom of expression guaranteed under the Indian Constitution. Raising the issue of use of algorithms, a kind of automated software code, to filter out or amplify certain conversations, BJP’s Rajya Sabha member demanded a law to regulate the content propagation policy of these social media giants such as Twitter, Facebook, and others.

“Article 19 (1) of the Constitution protects Freedom of Expression to all citizens of this country. There is trend in Social Media now about the use of Algorithm to suppress, deny, amplify, not amplify certain conversations,” Rajeev Chandrasekhar said in the Rajya Sabha.

The Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka accused social media platforms of hiding behind the use of algorithm or use of automated software codes whenever these tech giants receive complaints from the users.

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Social media platforms have been frequently used in the country to participate in the shrill political debates taking place over the social media platforms. However, sometime, it results in ugly verbal dual between the users. Global tech giants like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others have developed automated software to filter out sensitive or racial content and comments from their platforms. These tech companies also resort to blocking of the repeat offenders. An aggrieved user can file an appeal, however, these platforms have often been accused of bias by the aggrieved parties

These social media platform have also deployed automated and other methods to fight fake news, particularly during the important elections such as recently concluded Lok Sabha elections. Most of these measures are self-regulation as there is no government agency or statutory regulator to audit the process adopted by these tech giants.

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The Rajya Sabha member said that these algorithms are developed and designed by humans therefore they are not immune from human biases.

Unlike European Union which has drafted and implemented an exhaustive data protection policy in form of General Data Protection Rules (GDPR), India is yet to enact a law to protect the privacy of user’s data.

Lamenting at the inadequacy of existing laws, industrialist turned politician Rajeev Chandrasekhar demanded the government to pass a law to check the problem.

He said an algorithmic accountability bill should be passed barring algorithmic discrimination on the basis of gender, caste, religion, sexual orientation, disability, etc in both the public and private sectors.

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