A panel of the Delhi Assembly on Monday said it will summon Facebook officials, especially the company’s Public Policy Director for India, South and Central, Asia Ankhi Das, after allegations that the social media giant ignored hate posts by Bharatiya Janata Party leaders in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, PTI reported.
“Summons are set to be sent for appearance of the officials concerned of Facebook and more importantly, Ankhi Das, in due course to ensure their presence before the committee for participating in the relevant proceedings and the committee shall convene its meeting this week to initiate the proceedings forthwith,” Delhi Assembly’s panel on peace and harmony, headed by Aam Aadmi Party MLA Raghav Chadha, said in a statement.
The panel added that it was compelled to take notice of Facebook’s “deliberate and intentional inaction to contain hateful content” in India and also investigate whether Facebook officials had a role in the large-scale communal violence that tore through North East Delhi in February.
An article published in The Wall Street Journal last week claimed that Das had opposed taking down incendiary posts made by a BJP leader over fears that upsetting the ruling party may hurt the social media giant’s business prospects in India. The report, which has triggered a huge political row, also claimed that Facebook ignored hate posts of other BJP leaders.
The Congress on Monday demanded a joint parliamentary committee probe into the alleged BJP-Facebook nexus. Congress MP and Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology Chairperson Shashi Tharoor said that the panel would look into the accusations against Facebook.
As it faced fierce criticism for not censoring hateful content, Facebook on Monday claimed that it enforced policies against hate speech and incendiary content globally without political bias. Das, meanwhile, filed a complaint with the Delhi Police ‘s cyber cell unit over alleged threats to her life after the publication of the The Wall Street Journal report.