Congress leader Rahul Gandhi this morning yet again accused Facebook and WhatsApp of attacking “India’s democracy and social harmony”, days after his party wrote to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg – for the second time in two weeks – over the social media giant’s alleged bias towards the BJP.
“International media have fully exposed Facebook’s & WhatsApp’s brazen assault on India’s democracy & social harmony. No one, let alone a foreign company, can be allowed to interfere in our nation’s affairs. They must be investigated immediately & when found guilty, punished (sic),” the ex-Congress chief tweeted along with a report by the Wall Street Journal.
The latest report by the foreign publication claims that Facebook executive Ankhi Das didn’t apply hate speech rules on members of the ruling BJP.
Ms Das, head of public policy in Facebook India, “made internal postings over several years” detailing her support for the ruling BJP and disparaging its main rival, according to the report.
International media have fully exposed Facebook’s & WhatsApp’s brazen assault on India’s democracy & social harmony.
No one, let alone a foreign company, can be allowed to interfere in our nation’s affairs.
They must be investigated immediately & when found guilty, punished. pic.twitter.com/5tRw797L2y
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) September 1, 2020
The Congress, in its letter to Mark Zuckerberg on Saturday, sought details on steps being taken to investigate the alleged bias. “We urge you to let us know what steps your company is planning to take to investigate these matters… will also be pursuing legislative and judicial actions in India to ensure a foreign company cannot continue to cause social disharmony in our nation for pursuit of private profits,” the letter said.
The same day, Mr Gandhi had shared an article by Time Magazine as he said it “exposes WhatsApp-BJP nexus”.
“America’s Time magazine exposes WhatsApp-BJP nexus: Used by 40 crore Indians, WhatsApp also wants to be used for making payments for which Modi government’s approval is needed. Thus, BJP has a hold over WhatsApp”,” the 50-year-old Congress MP’s tweet read.
Facebook India is already scheduled to appear before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology – which is chaired by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor – on Wednesday, to answer questions raised by the Journal’s article.
BJP’s Nishikant Dubey last month wrote to Lok Speaker Om Birla, demanding that Mr Tharoor be removed from the panel.
Last month, amid political row, Facebook had said that it is an “open transparent and non-partisan platform”. “Facebook is and always has been an open, transparent and non-partisan platform where people can express themselves freely,” Facebook India vice president and managing director Ajit Mohan said in a post.
The BJP, dismissing the allegations, had earlier cited the three-year-old Cambridge Analytica data scandal. “You were caught red-handed in alliance with Cambridge Analytica & Facebook to weaponise data before the elections & now have the gall to question us?” Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had tweeted last month.