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Amid hate speech row, Shashi Tharoor-led Parliamentary panel summons Facebook on September 2

The development comes in the wake of a report in the Wall Street Journal that a Facebook top executive had opposed applying hate speech rules to certain BJP leaders.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: August 20, 2020 11:11:27 pm
Facebook, Facebook earning, Facebook profit, Facebook COVID-19, Facebook Coronavirus, Facebook performance, Facebook profit, Facebook loss, WhatsApp, InstagramBesides representatives of Facebook, the committee has also asked representatives of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to remain present on September 2

The Shashi Tharoor-led Parliamentary panel on Information Technology Thursday summoned Facebook on September 2 to discuss the issue of alleged misuse of the social media platform, news agency PTI reported.

The development comes in the wake of a report in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that a Facebook top executive had opposed applying hate speech rules to certain BJP leaders.

Besides representatives of Facebook, the committee has also asked representatives of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to remain present on September 2 to discuss “safeguarding citizens’ rights and prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms including special emphasis on women security in the digital space,” PTI reported.

According to a notification issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat, representatives of ministries of communications and home affairs have also been called along with those from Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi governments.

The development comes on a day when BJP MP and a member of the committee, Nishikant Dubey, in a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla sought removal of Tharoor from the post of its chairman. Dubey had cited the “flawed mode and terrible disdain towards the established parliamentary institutions being exhibited by Tharoor” as the reason for his demand.

Earlier, both Dubey and Tharoor had given notices for breach of privilege against each other over the issue of Tharoor sending a summons to Facebook representatives.

Explained | Why Shashi Tharoor could summon Facebook before Parliamentary panel

The WSJ report had claimed that a top Facebook public policy executive in India, citing business reasons, didn’t apply “hate-speech rules” to at least four individuals and groups linked with BJP who were “flagged internally for promoting or participating in violence”.

Earlier this week, the Congress party also wrote a letter addressed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, asking him to set up a time-bound “high-level inquiry” into its leadership in India and their operations and put in place a new team until completion of the internal probe.

In the letter to Zuckerberg, Congress general secretary in charge of organisation KC Venugopal asked Facebook to publish “all instances of hate speech posts since 2014 that were allowed on the platform”.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had also raised the issue on Twitter. “We cannot allow any manipulation of our hard-earned democracy through bias, fake news & hate speech. As exposed by WSJ, Facebook’s involvement in peddling fake and hate news needs to be questioned by all Indians,” he had tweeted.

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