New Delhi, Aug 18 : Amid a controversy over Facebook allegedly favouring “hate content” on the social media platform and the Congress demanding a parliamentary probe, Congress General Secretary K.C. Venugopal has written to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, demanding a “high level inquiry” into the controversy by the social media giant.
“Set up a high-level inquiry by Facebook headquarters into Facebook India’s leadership team and their operations in a time-bound manner, and publish and make transparent all instances of hate speech since 2014 that was allowed on the platform. Facebook India should appoint a new team so that the investigation is not influenced,” said Venugopal in the letter.
The Congress said that the party is disappointed by the revelations made in the US-based Wall Street Journal’s article and added that this is a “damning and serious allegation of Facebook India’s interference in India’s electoral democracy.”
The opposition party has accused the BJP and the RSS of controlling Facebook and WhatsApp in India, as the Congress on Sunday alleged that the two had attacked democracy in the country and demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into alleged violations by the social media platform and its messaging service.
Meanwhile, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “We cannot allow any manipulation of our hard-earned democracy through bias, fake news & hate speech. As exposed by @WSJ, Facebook’s involvement in peddling fake and hate news needs to be questioned by all Indians.”
On Sunday, Rahul had tweeted: “BJP and RSS control Facebook and WhatsApp in India. They spread fake news and hatred through it and use it to influence the electorate. Finally, the American media has come out with the truth about Facebook.” He had also tagged the Wall Street Journal report on the issue.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted: “Facebook-WhatsApp sinister connection to BJP government exposed! Is Facebook being used to spread ‘Fake News’ and ‘Hate Material’? What is the connect of Facebook-India leaders to BJP? Does it not warrant a JPC probe?”
Another Congress spokesperson and former Union minister Ajay Maken said on the controversy: “There are 40 crore Indians on WhatsApp and over 28 crore on Facebook. So, a probe is necessary into the commercial dealings, propagation of hate content, and connection of Facebook and WhatsApp employees with the BJP.”
“Facebook also has different rules for different countries and that is not acceptable. The rules for India are dramatically different and are bent as per their convenience. In Singapore, while deposing before policymakers, FB said it is a platform and can’t take down content brought to notice,” Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said.