Former RSS ideologue KN Govindacharya has sent a memorandum to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, raising issues around legal accountability of digital social media companies in India.
He asked for a probe by Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the workings of Facebook and other tech giants in India, arguing that it is a case of national interest, not that of narrow political considerations and blame game.
He adds JPC needs to probe how these tech giants are monopolising operations in India without any legal obligation.
This is following the report by Wall Street Journal that Facebook didn't apply its community guidelines on hate speech to posts by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politicians and other "Hindu nationalist individuals and groups" so as not to upset the Modi government.
"This is also contradictory to Facebook's usual claim that it is an intermediary so its Indian entity has no authority to deal with website/app or its content without formal court order," says Supreme Court lawyer Virag Gupta who is also Govindacharya's legal counsel.
A debate is going on already across the world on the opacity of Facebook's community guidelines and random ways to remove hate speech and fake news from its platform.
Govindacharya in his representation says that it is clear from current disclosures that Facebook is working in India through its Indian employees who have control over what gets removed and what doesn't. "If Facebook's Indian officials are competent to remove objectionable content in India, then why are they dissociating themselves from legal liabilities before police and Indian Courts?" he asks.
The letter also calls out that despite three years having gone by, data protection law is yet to see the light of the day in India, which is causing a huge loss to the economy.
He raises the issue that despite having full information on role of social media players interfering with elections in India, no action has been taken yet against any foreign or Indian player. As per Edward Snowden disclosures, nine American internet companies shared more than 6 billion data of Indians with US Intelligence Agencies under operation PRISM.
The letter has been sent to Lok Sabha Speaker and Vice President along with five parliamentary committees: Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs, Law & Justice, on IT, on Finance and Joint Select Committee on Personal Data Protection Bill.
Reuters recently reported that Facebook's employees are also asking questions over content moderation and following of its adequate procedures in India.