The Parliamentary Committee on Information Technology has issued summons to Indian officials of social media platforms Facebook and Twitter for January 21, to question them over misuse of the social media/online news platforms and why these companies have not been able to prevent the same. Also Read - Twitter's Clubhouse-like Spaces now available for Android: What is it, how to use, and more questions answered
The notice on the Lok Sabha website reads: “Evidence of representatives of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and to hear the views of the representatives of Facebook and Twitter on the subject safeguarding citizens’ rights and prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms including special emphasis on women security in the digital space.” Also Read - Twitter will permanently ban accounts found posting misleading content on COVID-19
Mohan was summoned before as well
It was last year in October that the committee had summoned Facebook’s India head, Ajit Mohan, over the issue of political bias on the social media platform. Also Read - Deep Nostalgia brings old photos to life: Here's how to use this AI tool
The Facebook VP in India was summoned as it was argued that he did not have the right to remain silent against allegations that Facebook did not properly apply its hate speech policies and rules that contributed to the communal violence that hit the capital in February last year.
Facebook’s bad past
The allegations of a Facebook bias towards the BJP were reported in The Wall Street Journal in August 2020. The report had claimed that Ankhi Das, Facebook’s then India Policy Head was against the idea of removing hate posts by BJP leaders, warning that this could hamper their “commercial interests”.
Das has now quit Facebook.
“Ankhi has decided to step down from her role in Facebook to pursue her interest in public service. Ankhi was one of our earliest employees in India and played an instrumental role in the growth of the company and its services over the last 9 years,” Mohan said in an e-mailed statement.
Das had been summoned by a Joint Committee of Parliament last year where she was grilled about the political content and hate speech that she had let fester on Facebook.
-with inputs from IANS.