Anurag Thakur, head of parliamentary committee on Information Technology (Photo/File)
Anurag Thakur, head of parliamentary committee on Information Technology (Photo/File)

Under fire for comments by employees on terror and Pulwama, Facebook apologises to Parliamentary committee

ANI | Updated: Mar 06, 2019 14:49 IST

New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): Facebook on Wednesday apologised to a Parliamentary Committee on Information Technology headed by BJP MP Anurag Thakur over insensitive comments made by some of its employees in the wake of Pulwama attack, according to exclusive information available with ANI.
The Parliamentary Committee had questioned Facebook Vice President, Facebook Global Public Policy, Joel David Kaplan over insensitive comments made by some of its employees. “Mr. Joel expressed his deep regret and apologised to the committee for remarks made by Facebook employees on terrorism and Pulwama attack,” a source told ANI.
The committee also raised questions regarding Facebook’s ability to prevent its platform from being misused during the elections and in helping national security agencies.    
Joel, who appeared before the committee, reportedly, assured the members that Facebook is focussed on those concerns.
“We are trying to learn from each election. I give you my commitment that we are focused on these concerns. Our systems are getting smarter and I can commit we will try to keep improving,” he told the committee members according to the source.
Facebook reportedly refused to comment on NATO experiment that used Facebook accounts to trick serving members of armed forces to get sensitive information.
According to the source, the Parliamentary Committee members expressed doubt that Facebook’s systems are continuously being allowed to be gamed and the platforms continue to focus on monetary aspects of the business.
Anurag Thakur-led committee further asked Facebook ‘if its platform is serving the society or being used to divide communities’? The committee said that Indian elections, national security, protecting citizen’s data are its top priority. It directed Facebook to send ‘clear written replies’ in 10 days on the same.
 “Facebook said they are a `hybrid company’ and failed to clearly answer which regulatory framework apply to their content, advertising and marketing operations in India,” the source added.
Two committee members from different parties expressed their disgust at being banned and their profiles being cloned on Facebook. The tech giant allegedly failed to address this despite the issue being flagged months back.
Earlier, the Committee had allowed Colin Crowell, Vice President and Global Policy Head of Twitter to appear before it on February 25 and directed the micro-blogging site to ensure no interference of foreign entities in Indian elections. (ANI)