Congress demands for JPC on BJP-Facebook ‘Nexus’
Accusing Facebook India of interfering with India’s electoral process, the Congress has demanded a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to probe allegations made in a report by the Wall Street Journal
Accusing Facebook India of interfering with India’s electoral process, the Congress has demanded a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to probe allegations. The demand has come after an investigation published by the Wall Street Journal which reported that officials of Facebook India provided “favourable treatment to the BJP on election related issues” and violated the company’s own guidelines on hate speech by refusing to take down objectionable comments by BJP leaders.
Responding to the news report, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi accused the BJP-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) of “controlling” Facebook India to spread fake news, hatred and influence elections .Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “BJP & RSS control Facebook & Whatsapp in India. They spread fake news and hatred through it and use it to influence the electorate. Finally, the American media has come out with the truth about Facebook.”
He also tagged the WSJ report that said FB India’s top public policy executive, Ankhi Das, had opposed taking down controversial statements of a BJP leader and that she is reported to have told her colleagues that “punishing violations by BJP leaders would affect the company's business in the country”.
At a virtual press conference, senior Congress leader Ajay Maken and the party’s data analytics chief, Praveen Chakravarty alleged that FB India’s actions amounted to interfering with Indian elections.
“We have two demands: first a JPC should be constituted to inquire into all these allegations and second, FB Head Office should conduct their own probe and remove all those who have political links...Why is the government scared of a JPC? “Over the past few years, we had consistently raised the issue of bias and nexus between Facebook’s India leadership team and the BJP. We had many formal meetings with the company,” Mr. Chakravarty said, giving details of three such meetings between 2018 and 2019 with top FB and Whatsapp officials in India and the US.
“What gave Facebook the guts and the gumption to intrude, interfere and intervene in the world’s largest democratic exercise?” he asked.
“I have cited these instances just to show how the story yesterday in the Wall Street Journal is a mere confirmation of what we always knew...There are many others in that leadership team with a close working relationship with people in the BJP,” alleged Mr. Chakravarty.