Form JPC on Facebook manipulation: Congress

Party writes to Mark Zuckerberg, accusing the firm of bias towards BJP

November 12, 2021 04:49 pm | Updated 11:01 pm IST - New Delhi

Illustration image of Facebook logo.

Illustration image of Facebook logo.

The Congress on Friday wrote to Mark Zuckerberg, protesting against “apparent and evident” bias of Facebook towards the ruling dispensation and demanded a joint parliamentary committee probe into alleged manipulation of elections by the U.S. based tech firm.

Congress’s social media in charge Rohan Gupta shot off the letter to Mr. Zuckerberg, saying that in the last two years, an abundance of evidence had been released that point to the negligence by the company in controlling hate speech. “I want to bring to your notice the apparent and evident bias that your company has shown in our country towards the ruling dispensation despite their proclivity for sharing hate speech, misinformation, fake news and inflammatory content on your platform,” he said.

An internal report of Facebook, authored by an employee in February 2019, based on findings of a test account, showed that post the February 14 Pulwama terror attack, users had seen “more images of dead people in the past three weeks than seen in their entire life”. The report also pointed out that the AI (Artificial Intelligence) that Facebook used was not adequate to identify vernacular languages.

Mr. Gupta urged Mr. Zuckerberg to conduct an internal enquiry into the functioning of Facebook India and release the findings to the public. “It is your responsibility as the head of this organisation to hold those responsible for betraying our people accountable for their action,” he stated.

To flag the issue, the party held a press conference at its headquarters in Delhi that was addressed by Mr. Gupta and chairperson of its data and technology cell Praveen Chakravarty.

‘It is about India and Indians’

“The world’s largest democracy is being manipulated by an American tech company. This is not any more about the Congress or the BJP, it is about India and Indians. It is about the sanctity of our democracy. Are we going to accept this kind of control of our society? It’s time for us to come together and resist this,” Mr. Chakravarty observed.

Facebook now owned WhatsApp- the messaging platform used widely in the country. This made the internal reports of Facebook more alarming, Mr. Chakravarty remarked. “Facebook is open and public. If there is such an amount of hate content on Facebook, imagine the extent of spread in WhatsApp which is a private medium.”

“Facebook has reduced itself as a tool in the hands of the BJP to spread hatred,” Mr. Gupta said. He appealed to people to not blindly believe in the contents of Facebook.

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