National

House panel grills FB officials

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 02, 2020 Published on September 02, 2020

Tells them to submit response in writing in 10 days

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology grilled Facebook India’s top executive Ajit Mohan here on Wednesday over “safeguarding citizens’ rights and prevention of misuse of online media platforms including special emphasis on women security. Sources in the panel indicated that Mohan and associate general counsel of the social media platform Saanjh Purohit had to face a number of questions from the members and the panel has given ten-days for them to submit a written statement on the questions raised by the members.

Counter allegations

Opposition members asked about the role of certain executives of Facebook India in helping the BJP to spread its ideology, the BJP members pointed out that Facebook has been promoting “Leftist” content and urged the social media platform to promote freedom of speech.

The panel also heard views of authors Nikhil Pahwa and Paranjoy Guha Thakurta on the same subject. They are learnt to have provided evidence to the panel about the involvement of Facebook executives in spreading hate speech.

The panel also heard representatives of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on the subject safeguarding citizens’ rights and prevention of misuse of social online news media platforms. A member in the panel said it will submit the report at the earliest. “The executives had to face fierce questions from us. We have asked them to give written submissions on each point we raised,” the member added.

It is for the first time that top officials of the Facebook had to appear before a Parliamentary panel outside the United States. The panel had earlier witnessed verbal war between Congress and BJP members over summoning the Facebook officials.

Almost all Opposition parties had demanded a discussion on media reports about the alleged nexus between the BJP and the Facebook India team. The issue is likely to echo in the House too during the monsoon session.

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Published on September 02, 2020
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