Congress has demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the continued ‘favouritism’ shown by Facebook towards the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and has alleged that the social media platform has become ‘fakebook’. Addressing a press conference here on Monday, party spokesperson Pawan Khera said, “It has become ‘fakebook’ and a JPC probe should be done.” He said, “Despite knowing all, why hasn’t Facebook designated the RSS and Bajrang Dal as dangerous organisations, based on its own internal reports? The Government of India had been extremely pro-active against Twitter citing Social Media safety compliance, why are they not uttering a word now? “The internal reports and recommendations of Facebook’s security team went against the recommendations of Facebook’s safety team; insofar as they prioritised commercial interests over safety of Indian Citizens, and yet no action has been taken by the Government, doesn’t this clearly implicate the presence of a quid pro quo? We, therefore, demand that a JPC probe be ordered immediately.” The Congress said, “It proves that ‘Fakebook’ is nothing but a subjugated vicious diabolical tool used by the ruling regime and its proxies to propagate bigotry, hate and fear in the minds of the oppressed and marginalised in India,” he said. He alleged that the absolutely callous attitude of the company towards the people of India is reflective in the fact that they spend 87 per cent of their misinformation budget policing English-speaking audiences, whereas those audiences make up only 9 per cent of their base. The Congress spokesperson said, “This was not the first time that the social media platform is exposed, but their tryst with bias favouring their all-weather ally: the BJP is nothing new.” The Congress spokesperson was speaking on the recent expose where it was alleged that Facebook knew it very well that they weren’t equipped to filter hate speech especially in Hindi and Bengali as per the leaked research documents by a whistle-blower Frances Haugen, a 37-year-old engineer who worked at Facebook, and yet they took no decisive action the perpetrators of such hate. With about 370 million users of the social media platform in India, in terms of user base, India is Facebook’s largest market. To sustain its business in India, the leaks have suggested that an internal assessment by Facebook suggested that only 0.2 per cent of reported hate speech was being taken down, which shows that Facebook was and continues to be having ‘damningly’ acute awareness about the content against a particular section of Indian society and has consciously chosen not to act against it. Khera said, “All remember the incident involving Ms. Ankhi Das, who was questioned by the parliamentary panel on the alleged bias by Facebook in dealing with hate speeches, including her own internal postings detailing her explicit support for the ruling BJP. But, despite her resignation, the camaraderie and nexus between the BJP – Facebook never ended.”
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