Congress demands JPC probe into Facebook’s alleged role in ‘influencing’ India’s elections

New Delhi, 25 October

The Congress on Monday accused Facebook of “influencing” India’s elections and “undermining” democracy and demanded a joint parliamentary committee probe.

Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera took up alleged leaked internal reports of the social media giant not initiating action against hate speech posts on its platform in India, saying “Facebook has turned itself into a FakeBook.”

The Congress leader also alleged that Facebook was acting as an ally of the ruling BJP and pushing its agenda.

He cited research documents of whistleblower Frances Hogen, who worked at Facebook, and alleged that it did not take any decisive action against those who posted such hateful posts in Hindi and Bengali.

A Facebook company spokesperson said here that it is improving enforcement.

“We have made significant investments in technology to find hate speech in various languages, including Hindi and Bengali. As a result, we have halved the amount of hate speech people see this year. “Today, it has dropped to 0.05 percent. Hate speech against marginalized groups, including Muslims, is on the rise globally. So we are improving enforcement and committed to updating our policies as hate speech develops online. It happens,” said the spokesperson.

Khera alleged that Facebook’s internal reports had identified fake accounts with over one million impressions, yet it did nothing about it.

“We call for a JPC inquiry into Facebook’s role in influencing our elections,” he told reporters.

He alleged that Facebook was trying to “compromise and undermine our democracy by trying to shape public opinion through fake posts”.

He alleged that BJP workers and its allies have infiltrated the structure and functioning of Facebook.

“What right does Facebook have to advance a particular ideology through fake posts, pictures and a narrative.

“It’s shocking how only 0.2 percent of hate speech is removed by Facebook, which doesn’t have a system to filter posts in Hindi or Bengali despite making the most money from India,” he said.

Khera said that only 9 per cent of users in India are in English and yet they do not have a system to filter posts in regional languages.

Alleging that the role of Facebook during the Delhi riots and West Bengal elections has been under doubt, he said, “The role of Facebook cannot now be ruled out as a mistake of omission as they are deliberately committed by the ruling party and furthering the agenda of his ideology. Full of hatred, bigotry and dividing the society.”

“Why should we not accuse Facebook of interfering in our elections by influencing the voting behavior of our consumers. This is serious election fraud and it is a serious interference by a foreign company in our elections.”

“Why is Facebook silent on these allegations that have come from within. Why is the government silent on this, simply because it suits their agenda and Facebook has become a tool in the hands of the BJP and its allies,” he asked.

Kheda alleged that following a revelation by his own former employee, there are many questions that Facebook as well as the government have to answer.

“Despite knowing all this, why did Facebook not designate the RSS and Bajrang Dal as ‘dangerous organisations’ based on its internal reports?

“While the Indian government was extremely active against Twitter citing social media safety compliance, why are they not uttering a word now,” he asked.

He also alleged that the internal reports and recommendations of Facebook’s security team go against the recommendations of Facebook’s security team, as they have prioritized business interests over the safety of Indian citizens, and so far no action has been taken by the government. Is.

“Doesn’t this clearly imply the presence of ‘quid pro quo,'” he asked.

Internal documents on Facebook show it “struggles with misinformation, hate speech and celebrations of violence” in India, the company’s biggest market, with researchers at the social media giant saying there are groups and pages that are “provocative and misleading anti-Muslim” are full of “content” on its platform, US media reports have said. PTI