National Spokesperson of Congress Pawan Khera. (File Photo)
National Spokesperson of Congress Pawan Khera. (File Photo)

Congress demands Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe Facebook, says it has become 'Fakebook'

ANI | Updated: Oct 25, 2021 21:47 IST

New Delhi [India], October 25 (ANI): Congress national spokesperson Pawan Khera on Monday demanded the constitution of a Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe Facebook which, he alleged, has become "Fakebook" after its policies on hate speech.
In a press conference here in Delhi, Khera said, "Facebook is helping an organisation like Bajrang Dal in spreading fake content through its platform. Through the course of the 2019 general elections, the Delhi riots, Facebook knew it well that they were not equipped to filter hate speech, especially in Hindi and Bengali, as per the leaked research documents by whistle-blower Frances Haugen, a 37-year-old engineer who worked at Facebook. "
Khera said, "Yet they took no decisive action on the perpetrators of such hate. Rather, their internal reports have identified fake accounts with over a million impressions, yet, 'Fakebook' did nothing about it."
Khera said that India is Facebook's largest market with 370 million users. Nonetheless, to sustain its business in India, the leaks have suggested that an internal assessment by Facebook suggested that only 0.2 per cent of reported hate speech was being taken down, which shows that Facebook has an acute awareness about content against a particular section of Indian society and has chosen not to act against it, he alleged.
Khera said, "This only goes on to prove that "Fakebook" is nothing but a tool used by the ruling regime and its proxies to propagate bigotry, hate and fear in the minds of the oppressed and marginalised in India."

Khera said, "Many internal studies and reports by Facebook that have now been leaked explicitly suggest that it is groups and entities affiliated with the RSS, Bajrang Dal and their political proxy, BJP, that have been at the forefront of extensive hate speech campaigns by spreading targeted misinformation against a particular community."
He said, "There are questions that Facebook and the government need to answer. Despite knowing all this, why has Facebook not designated RSS and Bajrang Dal as dangerous organisations?"
He slammed the central government and said, "If the government had been pro-active against Twitter citing social media safety compliance, why are they not uttering a word now?"
Khera alleged, "The internal reports and recommendations of Facebook's security team went against the recommendations of Facebook's safety team, insofar as they prioritized commercial interests over the safety of Indian citizens, and yet no action has been taken by the government. Doesn't this implicate the presence of a quid pro quo?"
Khera said they demand that a JPC probe be ordered immediately.
Earlier, in 2020, Facebook's safety team had concluded that the Bajrang Dal supported violence against minorities across the country. It was speculated that Facebook was on the verge of designating them as a 'dangerous organisation' and banning them from the platform.
But after a report by Facebook's security team which stated, "besides risking infuriating India's ruling nationalist politicians, banning Bajrang Dal might precipitate physical attacks against Facebook personnel and facilities, and thus, the social media giant gave in and prioritised their business over the safety of millions of Indians. (ANI)