The Congress party on Tuesday sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, asking for a high-level inquiry into the company’s India’s leadership, which has been accused of providing favourable treatment to leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The party also asked that the report of this investigation be made public.
Issued by K.C. Venugopal, general secretary of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), the opposition party pointed out allegations of bias and partisanship made against the company in a recent Wall Street Journal report. It noted the “clear charges” against Facebook India leadership of being complicit in propagating hate speech by leaders of the BJP. The letter also said that Facebook India’s deletion of hate speech posts after the Wall Street Journal made its enquiries was a “clear admission of guilt”.
Venugopal wrote: “While we were deeply disappointed to read the Wall Street Journal article, we must acknowledge that it was not a surprise (sic) revelation. The Congress party had repeatedly raised the issue of bias with many executives of Facebook and WhatsApp. In one of such meetings, I also participated and raised multiple concerns to mostly deaf ears.”
The party made the following suggestions:
- It asked Facebook’s headquarters to set up a high-level inquiry into Facebook India leadership and their operations, and submit a report to the company’s board within roughly two months. The party said this report should be made public.
- As an exercise of transparency, it asked that the company publish all instances of hate speech posts that were allowed on its platform since 2014. “The WSJ article mentions hate speech of at least three other politicians that were willfully permitted by Facebook India. On closer perusal, you will see thousands of such insidious posts,” the letter said.
- The party also asked that until the probe is over, Facebook India needed to be led by a new team to prevent any influence to the investigation.