Facebook Quizzed by Indian Parliamentary Panel Over Political Bias

Opposition lawmakers from a parliamentary panel accused Facebook on Wednesday of favouring the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) throughout a gathering to quiz the social media large on its content material regulation.

The IT panel, headed by lawmaker Shashi Tharoor of the opposition Congress Party, questioned Facebook’s India boss Ajit Mohan for greater than two hours.

It had summoned Facebook after The Wall Street Journal revealed a story final month saying Ankhi Das, the US tech large’s Public Policy Director for South and Central Asia, had opposed the taking down of posts by a BJP politician who labelled Indian Muslims traitors.

At the listening to, lawmakers from opposition events, together with the Congress, slammed Facebook for not taking down hate or inflammatory content material posted by customers with right-wing ideology or by accounts associated to the BJP, not less than six panel members advised Reuters.

Mohan was advised Facebook was biased towards the BJP because it obtained paid ads from authorities ministries, the sources stated.

BJP lawmakers, then again, accused Facebook of prejudice in the direction of the Congress occasion, sources on the panel added.

Mohan gave the panel a presentation on Facebook’s content material polices, and re-affirmed the platform’s neutrality, in response to sources.

Facebook “remains committed to be an open and transparent platform”, the corporate stated in a press release issued after the assembly.

Hours earlier than the panel listening to, a regional occasion governing the state of West Bengal, made public a letter which accused Facebook of being a fan of the BJP, including to the clamour of opposition voices which have been criticising the corporate’s content material regulation practices.

In a letter to Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg, dated August 31, West Bengal’s ruling occasion, the Trinamool Congress, stated the corporate’s latest blocking of pages and accounts within the state pointed to the hyperlinks it had with the BJP.

“There is enough material now in the public domain, including internal memos of senior Facebook management, to substantiate the bias,” Trinamool Congress spokesman Derek O’ Brien wrote within the letter.

“Please do all it takes to urgently work towards maintaining the integrity of your platform in the Indian electoral process.”

West Bengal will maintain state meeting elections early subsequent 12 months.

On Tuesday, the nation’s know-how minister slammed Facebook for censuring content material posted by customers who supported right-wing ideology.

Even Facebook staff have questioned the corporate’s content material insurance policies within the nation, Reuters has beforehand reported.

Menlo Park, California-headquartered Facebook has beforehand stated it’s a non-partisan platform and it’ll take away content material that violates its group requirements.

The listening to ended and not using a decision on Wednesday and Facebook representatives shall be summoned once more after the panel, whose time period expires on September 12, is reconstituted, Tharoor advised journalists.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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