Updated: October 30, 2021 9:00:35 am
The Delhi Legislative Assembly’s Committee on Peace and Harmony has issued a notice to Facebook India to appear before it on November 2. The committee is examining the “unprecedented communal disharmony and violence in Delhi in February 2020”.
“In continuation of previous proceedings, the Delhi Legislative Assembly’s Committee on Peace and Harmony has decided to call upon representatives of Facebook India to depose its view on the important role of social media in curbing the spread of false, provocative and malicious messages which can fan violence and disharmony,” the government said in a statement.
“So far, the committee has examined extremely crucial witnesses, including senior journalists, fact checkers, digital rights activists and Facebook employees. Proceedings shall be live-streamed to maintain the utmost transparency in the functioning of the committee,” it said.
Some of those who have appeared before the committee include Facebook’s former employee Mark S Luckie, journalists Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Prabir Purkayastha, Digitals rights activist Nikhil Pahwa and Alt News Co-Founder Pratik Sinha, among others.
Facebook India Online Services Private Limited was issued a notice on October 27 to depose before the Committee at 12.30 p.m. on November 2.
“Since Facebook has lakhs of users in the NCT of Delhi…the Committee has decided to hear the views of representative(s) of Facebook India… It is, therefore, requested that a competitive senior representative(s) of Facebook India well conversant with the issues involved appear before the committee on the said date, time and venue as a witness,” the order states.
The Committee is listening to depositions “with a view to recommending suitable measures to defuse the situation and restore harmony among religious communities, linguistic communities or social groups.”
“The Committee has observed and is of the opinion that social media has a very important role in curbing the spread of false, provocative and malicious messages, which can fan violence and disharmony,” the government said.
“The summon is being issued to Facebook in furtherance of the judgment dated 8.07.2021 of the Supreme Court in ‘Ajit Mohan & Ors. V. Legislative Assembly, NCT of Delhi’ where the Court had upheld the powers of the Committee to summon both members and non-members including representatives of Facebook,” it added.
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