Congress demands JPC probe into BJP-Facebook ‘nexus’

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 16, 2020

Citing media reports appeared in Western press, the Opposition demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the alleged nexus between the Sangh Parivar and social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp.

Congress’s former president Rahul Gandhi said the BJP and the RSS control Facebook and WhatsApp in India. “They spread fake news and hatred through it and use it to influence the electorate. Finally, the American media has come out with the truth about Facebook,” he said.

Senior Congress leader and spokesman Ajay Maken said that a reputed American newspaper had reported how hundreds of millions of Indians are controlled, divided and manipulated through fake news and hate speech propagated by the BJP through Facebook. “India’s rich electoral democracy cannot be sacrificed at the altar of Facebook and Whatsapp. There must be a serious Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe into these matters further,” he told reporters at a press conference here on Sunday.

Allegations on interference in elections

He alleged that the social media platforms have interfered with the election process of the country. “What gave Facebook the guts and the gumption to intrude, interfere and intervene in the world’s largest democratic exercise?” he said, and added that Facebook and WhatsApp control information, news and communication for hundreds of millions of Indians.

He said that the bias and alignment of the Facebook India’s leadership team with the BJP and RSS is not limited to just their Head of Public Policy in India. “There are many others in that leadership team with a close working relationship with people in the BJP. There is clear and ample evidence to warrant a serious investigation by Facebook Headquarters into the operations of their India team and their efforts in interfering in India’s electoral democracy,” he added.

Has Facebook teamed up with BJP to spread hate speech and provide favorable treatment on election issues, asked CPI (M). The party said that the media reported that Facebook’s top executive saying curbing such speech would hurt Facebook’s business interests. “Details of such quid pro quo need to be made public. Such collusions between the ruling party and a foreign MNC to violate hate speech laws and interfere in our Election process is a serious matter. Will the Election Commission act and investigate?” the CPI(M) asked.

Published on August 16, 2020

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