For Second Time, Congress Writes To Facebook CEO On Hate-Speech ‘Bias’
The Congress Party wrote to Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer, Facebook, for the second time in a month on Saturday, asking what steps were being taken on repeated allegations about the global social media giant's India unit being biased towards the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
At a press conference, the opposition party also demanded an investigation by a Joint Parliamentary Committee into the alleged “links of Facebook employees and the ruling establishment”.
The Congress' letter to Zuckerberg came over an article in the Time magazine, which according to the opposition party “revealed” more information and “evidence of biases and a quid pro quo relationship” of Facebook India with the BJP.
There was no immediate reaction from Facebook or the BJP on the allegations. A report in the Wall Street Journal earlier this month had brought to fore similar allegations, which were strongly rejected by both Facebook and the BJP.
Tagging the Time magazine report, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet that it exposes the "WhatsApp-BJP nexus".
Popular messaging app WhatsApp is also owned by Facebook.
In his letter to Zuckerberg, KC Venugopal, general secretary at the All India Congress Committee, referred to his earlier letter dated Aug. 17 in which the party had requested the U.S.-based company to investigate the allegations made in the Wall Street Journal article that the social media platform refused to apply hate speech rules to certain BJP politicians.
“We draw your attention to the article in Time magazine dated Aug. 27 that reveals more information and evidence of biases and a quid pro quo relationship of Facebook India with the ruling BJP,” Venugopal said in the new letter dated Aug. 29, asking for details of steps being taken by the group.
“We will also be pursuing legislative and judicial actions in India to ensure that a foreign company cannot continue to cause social disharmony in our nation for their pursuit of private profits,” he said.
At the party's press conference, spokesperson Pawan Khera and All India Congress Committee data analytics department chief Praveen Chakravarty called for an “exhaustive and unbiased investigation by a Joint Parliamentary Committee between the unending links of Facebook employees and the ruling establishment”.
“The investigation must include how Facebook manipulated voter opinion, allowed hate speech and was oblivious to fake news, even when they were in clear violation of their own regulations,” they said in a statement.
"WhatsApp cannot be granted approvals for its payment operations until the inquiry is complete and the recommended actions are taken by the company," Khera and Chakravarty said.
They also demanded that the report of the investigation ordered by Facebook into the conduct of its Indian unit be made public.