- Congress seeks JPC investigation against alleged Facebook-WhatsApp-BJP nexus
- Calls for criminal investigation against Facebook India leadership
- Demands suspension of Facebook India leadership until completion of investigation
- Seeks to broaden the probe to cover all foreign technology companies in India
The Congress has reiterated its demand for a joint parliamentary committee investigation into the alleged Facebook-WhatsApp-BJP nexus. It has also demanded a separate criminal investigation into the matter and immediate suspension of Facebook's India leadership team until the completion of such investigation.
The demands of the Opposition party were made at a press conference by leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. The party has also asked PM Modi-led government to put on hold all pending approvals and licences to these companies and broaden the scope of inquiry to scrutinise the actions of all foreign technology companies present in India.
The demands of Congress come after international media reports point to the alleged bias showed by a key Facebook India employee to favour the ruling party.
Two days ago, the Congress had quoted media reports alleging 'WhatsApp, used by 40 crore Indians, is compromised and controlled indirectly by the BJP'. The party had also singled out two executives - one from Facebook India and the other from WhatsApp - for their close relationship with the ruling dispensation.
Congress also quoted former chief security officer of Facebook, Alex Stamos's tweet to suggest that the practice of hiring 'local policy heads (of Facebook) from the ruling political party' naturally bends decision-making towards the powerful. "This is a ringing endorsement of Facebook's dubious operational practices and lobbying efforts. It goes without saying that Facebook did not act on any hate speeches by the BJP and refuses to act even now. Has Facebook violated its own rule of removing hate speeches because they feared that the government will act against them?" Congress had asked.
The party had sought an exhaustive and unbiased investigation by a Joint Parliamentary Committee between unending links of Facebook employees and the ruling establishment. "The investigation must include how Facebook manipulated voter's opinion, allowed hate speech and was oblivious to fake news, even when they were in clear violation of their regulations," a media statement issued by the Congress had said. The other demand which Congress made was to deny WhatsApp approvals for its payment operations until the inquiry is complete and the recommended actions are taken by the company.
Congress leader K.C. Venugopal has also written a letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, demanding to know the steps being taken by the Facebook to investigate the charges leveled against its Indian arm.