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Facebook India chief Ajit Mohan appears before House panel, faces many questions

A Facebook company spokesperson said: “We thank the Honorable Parliamentary Committee for their time. We remain committed to be an open and transparent platform, and to giving people voice and allowing them to express themselves freely.”

Written by Karishma Mehrotra | New Delhi |
Updated: September 3, 2020 1:38:32 am
delhi assembly, Ajit Mohan, Facebook md, Facebook managing director, aap MLAs, indian expressAjit Mohan, MD of Facebook India, after a meeting with the Parliamentary panel. (ANI)

Facebook India managing director Ajit Mohan answered questions from MPs at the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology’s hearing on Wednesday.

The committee has given Facebook roughly 100 questions to be answered in writing in seven days, it is learnt.

In the meeting, members from both the Opposition and the ruling party accused Facebook of political bias towards and connections with certain political parties, it is learnt. Several members are learnt to have said that Facebook should be aligned to Indian Penal Code and laws.

They were also of the view that the company should be treated as a publisher, and not as an intermediary, it is learnt.

The BJP members are learnt to have said that the committee’s term is coming to an end, and the panel has not given a report yet.

After September 12, a new committee will be constituted and a new chairman will decide the agenda.

BJP members in the committee, it is learnt, asked about specific international members of Facebook’s newly instated, independent Oversight Board. They alleged that these members have spoken against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it is learnt.

Mohan denied Facebook having any political biases.

A Facebook company spokesperson said: “We thank the Honorable Parliamentary Committee for their time. We remain committed to be an open and transparent platform, and to giving people voice and allowing them to express themselves freely.”

Senior Congress leader and committee chief Shashi Tharoor tweeted, “in response to overwhelming media interest in the meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology….this is all I can say: We met for some three and a half hours and unanimously agreed to resume the discussion later, including with representatives of Facebook.”

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