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Congress demands criminal probe against Facebook over election interference row

Congress has demanded that a Joint Parliamentary Committee investigation should be launched on the matter immediately. The INC has also demanded a criminal investigation into the affairs of Facebook in India and the people involved

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | August 31, 2020 | Updated 14:48 IST
Congress demands criminal probe against Facebook over election interference row
INC has demanded a criminal investigation against Facebook

The Indian National Congress has launched a scathing attack on Facebook for interfering with India's electoral democracy. The party has demanded that a Joint Parliamentary Committee investigation should be launched on the matter immediately. The INC has also demanded a criminal investigation into the affairs of Facebook in India and the people involved. The party says that Facebook & WhatsApp's role in subverting India's democracy is now unquestionable and beyond doubt.

Aside from the parliamentary inquiry and criminal investigation, Congress has also demanded three additional measures that should be taken against Facebook. These are:

  1. All pending approvals and licenses for Facebook & WhatsApp to be put on hold until the investigations are completed.
  2. Suspension of Facebook India's leadership team with immediate effect until the conclusion of the investigations.
  3. An inquiry by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology into the activities of all Heads of Public Policy teams of foreign technology companies operating in India and establish a code of conduct.

The party in a press release said, "In a span of just two weeks, three separate articles incredible international media publications have revealed how Facebook and WhatsApp have colluded with the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) to tarnish India's democracy and tear India's social harmony."

The party also said that Ankhi Das, Head of Facebook India's public policy team, has boasted of her role in the BJP's 2014 election victory. "Evidently, she was elated at his victory and the big role her company, Facebook, played in helping him (Narendra Modi) win," read the release.  

The Congress clarified that they are not alleging Das's involvement with the BJP but instead quoting information revealed in the recent article by The Wall Street Journal published on August 30. "The article states how Ms.Das boasted that she has successfully lobbied with the BJP to include Facebook's priorities in their election manifesto and 'now they just need to go and win the elections'. She even circulated internal predictions of a BJP victory which she claimed she had obtained from a 'senior leader and close friend in the BJP," wrote Congress. The Congrees says that this proves Facebook's role in subverting India's democracy. The INC is now demanding strict action against the company.

The party promised that they will not allow India's hard-won democracy to be manipulated and tarnished any further.

Also read: Coronavirus impact: July GST collections dips 14.6% to Rs 87,422 crore

Also read: GST Council to hold virtual meet to finalise compensation to states on Aug 27 

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