The Standing Committee on Information Technology is looking into Facebook's role in safeguarding citizens' rights. At a committee meeting on November 29, members asked Facebook India's public policy director Shivnath Thukral about misinformation on both WhatsApp and Facebook and the controversial whistleblower revelations, it is learnt. Thukral responded that WhatsApp only acts as a platform and does not get to view any messages while Facebook has filters and experts in place. The two platforms also report numbers on the same to the IT Ministry periodically, he said. On the whistleblower revelations, Thukral said that they were from disgruntled employees having their 'own interests'. The committee members were not satisfied by his response, it is understood. The committee was also supposed to hear testimony from IT Ministry officials during the two-and-a-half-hour-long meeting; however, it could not be taken up due to paucity of time. In early November, committee chair Shashi Tharoor had tweeted that the Lok Sabha Speaker's approval had been sought to call Facebook whistleblower Sophie Zhang to testify before the committee. A response to the request is yet to be received. A series of recent revelations that Facebook does not effectively provide (as well as invest in) user safety in India and other non-English speaking countries has triggered fresh scrutiny of the social media giant. The details are a part of internal documents leaked by former Facebook employees Frances Haugen and Zhang, over the last year. What exactly was revealed by the whistleblowers In 2020, Zhang, a former data scientist on…
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