The Congress party has written a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, to initiate an impartial probe against Facebook India's operation and practices. The All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary KC Venugopal wrote the letter to Facebook CEO amid reports that its Indian arm compromised its hate speech policy to favour Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party.
Venugopal cited the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article of August 14 about alleged FB India's "blatant basis in content regulation" and said, "it was not a surprise revelation". He said Congress has repeatedly raised the issue of "bias" with many Facebook and WhatsApp executives.
In the letter, Congress has asked Zuckerberg, "To set up a high-level inquiry by Facebook Headquarters into the Facebook India leadership team and submit the report to the board of Facebook Inc within a reasonable period of time such as one/two months". The country's leading opposition party has also demanded to make this report public.
Moreover, the Congress party has asked Facebook CEO to 'publish' and make 'transparent' all instances of hate speech posts since 2014 that were allowed on the platform.
The Congress party also urged CEO Zuckerberg to lead Facebook India's operation by a new team until the investigation gets over.
Venugopal wrote, " Until the completion of the internal investigation and submission of the report, please consider leading Facebook India operations by a new team so as to not influence the investigation".
Congress has separately demanded a probe by a Parliamentary Committee in India into the "very serious issue of Facebook's interference in the world's largest electoral democracy".
Venugopal said the Congress is joined by other leading political parties in "expressing fear over Facebook's purported role in manipulating India's electoral democracy".
Meanwhile, former Congress party president Rahul Gandhi has also shared his party's letter on Twitter. Gandhi wrote, "We cannot allow any manipulation of our hard-earned democracy through bias, fake news & hate speech".
We cannot allow any manipulation of our hard-earned democracy through bias, fake news & hate speech.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 18, 2020
As exposed by @WSJ, Facebook’s involvement in peddling fake and hate news needs to be questioned by all Indians. pic.twitter.com/AvBR6P0wAK
The US newspaper Wall Street Journal, on August 14, alleged that Facebook ignored its hate speech policy and allowed anti-Muslim posts on its platform in India.
The daily claimed that top executive of Facebook India, Ankhi Das, opposed the application of hate-speech rules to members of the ruling BJP.
The WSJ report has triggered a political controversy over which the Congress, the BJP and the Lefts have been trading barbs.