Congress Asks Facebook Boss to Order High-Level Probe into Company’s Hate-Speech ‘Bias’ in India

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The letter from KC Venugopal, Congress general secretary, to Zuckerberg underlined that Facebook’s India policy head Ankhi Das ‘provided the Bharatiya Janata Party with favourable treatment on election-related issues’. — File photo

The grand old party has also suggested that until Facebook’s internal inquiry is completed, a new team must be appointed to lead the India operations.

Clarion India

NEW DELHI — The Congress Party has written a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg demanding a probe over the allegations that the tech giant provided favourable treatment to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as has been exposed by the Wall Street Journal.

The letter from KC Venugopal, Congress general secretary, to Zuckerberg underlined that Facebook’s India policy head Ankhi Das ‘provided the Bharatiya Janata Party with favourable treatment on election-related issues’.

“This is a damning and serious allegation about Facebook India’s interference in India’s electoral democracy,” Venugopal has said in the letter that asks Zuckerberg to set up a high-level inquiry into the Facebook India leadership team and their operations.

The grand old party has also suggested that until Facebook’s internal inquiry is completed, a new team must be appointed to lead the India operations.

“As India’s oldest political party that fought for the nation’s freedom and established electoral democracy through adult franchise, it is deeply disturbing to note that your company may be a willing participant in thwarting the very rights and values that our founding leaders sacrificed their lives for,” the letter reads.

The Congress said it expected a higher moral and social responsibility from the social media company which had India as one of the biggest markets.

The letter demanded that the company make public all instances of hate-speech posts since 2014 that were allowed on the platform”.

The Congress and the CPM demanded a parliamentary probe into the allegations made against Ankhi Das in the WSJ report. She, according to the report, opposed the recommendations of the staff to ban BJP leader T Raja Singh from the platform permanently for writing posts that, the Facebook internal inquiry said, was found to incite violence against Muslims.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had earlier said Facebook was being controlled by the BJP in India. Union IT minister Ravi Shankar Parsad retorted and reminded the Congress’s alleged involvement in the Cambridge Analytica issue.

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