On Friday Congress wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg demanding an internal investigation into the operation of Facebook India. He claimed that the platform in India is biased towards the “ruling dispensation” despite its “proclivity” to share hate speech, misinformation, fake news and inflammatory content.
The main opposition party had also written to Zuckerberg twice last year, raising questions about the neutrality of the Facebook team in India. This came after a Wall Street Journal report that the company’s director of policy for India, South and Central Asia, Ankhi Das, had objected, citing business imperatives, to enforcing hate speech rules. least four people and groups linked to BJP despite the fact that they were “internally flagged for promoting or participating in violence.”
In October of last year, Facebook announced that Das would be leaving the company.
The new letter from Congress comes amid reports that Facebook’s management, between 2018 and 2020, it ignored multiple internal red flags at its operations in India.
The Indian Express Friday reported that Facebook’s global team, responsible for reviewing hate speech, had faced cost cuts amid an increase in inflammatory and divisive content.
In his letter to Zuckerberg, the head of the congressional social media department, Rohan Gupta, drew his attention to what he called “apparent and evident bias that his company has shown in our country towards the ruling dispensation despite its propensity to share. hate speech, misinformation, fake news and inflammatory content on its platform ”.
“In the last two years, a great deal of evidence has been published pointing to your company’s negligence in monitoring this hate speech and deliberately ignoring internal documents that raise concerns about the same issues. Not only have his employees pointed out that the AI used by his platform is not adequate for identifying vernacular languages, but his team has failed to even configure basic keyword detection for problematic content, ”he said.
Gupta said that Facebook’s “cost-cutting approach to reviewing hate led to a dramatic and rapid increase in such content in the past two years.”
“India is one of your largest markets with more than 370 million users and it is extremely unfortunate that your company continues to favor your business interests over the lives and safety of your users. I strongly urge you to conduct an internal investigation into the operation of Facebook India and release the results to the public, ”he said.
In a press conference with Gupta, the chairman of the Congressional data and technology cell, Praveen Chakravarty, reiterated the party’s demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee investigation into the conduct of Facebook India.
“The largest democracy in the world is being manipulated by an American technology company. It is no longer about the Congress Party or the BJP or politics; it is about the sanctity of our democracy. It is about India and Indians. Parliament, which is elected by the people of India, has a responsibility to act on this issue. A JPC should be created to investigate this issue, as we have previously requested, ”he said.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee, he said, should convene Facebook and other executives to investigate this and laws should be passed to restrict Facebook and WhatsApp in India.