Earlier this month, the senior Congress leader had written to Zuckerberg, asking him to probe allegations that the social media company’s India team dispensed favorable treatment towards the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on August 18.
On Saturday, the Congress Party wrote to Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg a tearing allegation, – this being the second time in a fortnight, asking him to specify the steps being taken by his company to investigate the charges against its operations in India.
The Congress leader said that the party is “compelled to write again in such short span of time because of further information and revelations made public” through a new article in a media publication, which makes “three points that are alarming and violate both the spirit and the law of operations of foreign companies in India”.
Congress has claimed that WhatsApp, has been willingly allowed by Zuckerberg’s India team, to be appropriated for hate speech and the consequent tearing of India’s fabric of social harmony.
Congress general secretary in-charge of organization KC Venugopal also asked him to explain a global media report claiming that even WhatsApp, used by 400 million Indians, is compromised and controlled indirectly by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Venugopal, citing the news article in his letter, claimed the BJP has been allowed to exercise control of WhatsApp’s India operations in return for a possible license for its payment operations, which is critical for the future of the messaging app in India.
Congress has also claimed that “more than just one person in his company’s leadership team in India is biased and partisan in favor of ruling BJP in their professional endeavors”. The problem, Venugopal, said is larger, deeper, and more pervasive than initially assumed.
The WSJ report cited interviews with unnamed Facebook insiders and claimed the company’s senior India policy executive Ankhi Das intervened in internal content review processes to stop a ban on BJP’s Telangana lawmaker Raja Singh, whose posts targeted the Muslim community. It said Das told staff members that punishing violations by BJP politicians would damage the company’s business prospects in India.
Experts on the matter suggest ‘Salute the Rising’ principle being followed. The Congress, had it been in power could’ve been supported with the BJP filing complaints, only if things otherwise.
Facebook is banned in China. India being the second most populated country and their next largest market – no platform (profit motive) would want to oppose the ruling party and risk the majority of its users.