Politics Delhi Assembly Panel to Summon Top Facebook Officials, Probe...

Delhi Assembly Panel to Summon Top Facebook Officials, Probe Role of Social Media Giant in Riots

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File photo. Security personnel were seen walking past Bhagirathi Vihar in northeast Delhi after the riots. (PTI)

File photo. Security personnel were seen walking past Bhagirathi Vihar in northeast Delhi after the riots. (PTI)

The committee on Tuesday started proceedings on complaints about Facebook’s alleged “deliberate and intentional inaction to contain hateful content” in India.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: August 25, 2020, 8:53 PM IST

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Raghav Chadha on Tuesday said the peace and harmony committee of the Delhi Assembly will summon officials of Facebook after hearing depositions by three witnesses, saying an impartial investigation should be held into the role of the social media in the Delhi riots of February.

The committee on Tuesday started proceedings on complaints about Facebook’s alleged “deliberate and intentional inaction to contain hateful content” in India. The development comes in the backdrop of a report published in the Wall Street Journal, citing interviews with unnamed Facebook insiders, to claim that one of its senior India policy executives named Ankhi Das intervened in internal communication to stop a permanent ban on a BJP MLA from Telangana after he allegedly made communally charged posts.

“It appears due to circumstantial evidence that Facebook is not a content neutral platform. There is basis to the allegation that there is an unholy nexus between BJP and Facebook,” a statement released by Chadha said. “Facebook has community standards on hateful content; however it was brought to light how these were selectively implemented.”

“Facebook influences the conduct of free and fair elections, it has the power to do so and circumstantial evidence says that it did,” he added. “There should be an impartial investigation into the role of Facebook in the Delhi riots. Circumstantial evidence points out that Facebook did not act promptly to remove hateful content.”

Chadha said officials of Facebook will be sent notices to appear in front of the committee and present their side. “Seniormost officials of Facebook India, including Ankhi Das, will be sent notices to appear in front of it to clarify on all issues raised,” he added.

After careful deliberation on allegations levelled in the complaints received, the panel, chaired by Chadha, has sent summons to expert witnesses, specifically Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and Nikhil Pahwa along with others, it had said on Monday.

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