New Delhi: Soon after a war of words broke out between the Congress and the BJP over an article alleging that Facebook favoured the BJP, the social media giant on Sunday in a statement said that it has no link with the saffron party in India. Also Read - Delhi Riots: 'Attempt to Conceal Crucial Facts', Says Assembly Panel After FB Executive Skips Proceedings
Issuing a statement, a Facebook spokesperson told a news portal that it does not promote hate speech and enforces policies globally regardless of anyone’s political position. The Facebook also said that it does not promote content that incites violence. Also Read - 'If Govt Didn't Count, Nobody Died?' Rahul Lambasts Centre Over Migrants' Deaths During Lockdown
Talking further about the matter, the Facebook spokesperson added that the social media conducts regular audits of process to ensure fairness and accuracy. Also Read - 'Save Your Life Because PM Busy With Peacocks': Rahul Gandhi Taunts PM Modi As Covid-19 Cases Surge
The statement from Facebook comes hours after a slugfest erupted between the Congress and the BJP following a report in the Wall Street Journal claiming that Facebook ignored applying its hate speech rules to politicians of the ruling party in India.
Slamming the Centre, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi earlier in the day accused the BJP and RSS of spreading “fake news” using Facebook and WhatsApp to influence the electorate, triggering a sharp counter-attack from Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad who reminded the Congress of the Cambridge Analytica issue.
“Losers who cannot influence people even in their own party keep cribbing that the entire world is controlled by BJP and RSS. You were caught red-handed in alliance with Cambridge Analytica and Facebook to weaponise data before the elections and now have the gall to question us,” Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a tweet.
The reaction from the BJP came after the Congress demanded a probe by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) into the charges mentioned in the report, saying they threaten the foundation of Indian democracy and need to be investigated.
“BJP & RSS control Facebook & Whatsapp in India. They spread fake news and hatred through it and use it to influence the electorate. Finally, the American media has come out with the truth about Facebook,” Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet.
The development comes after a US newspaper in a report on Friday cited interviews with unnamed Facebook insiders to claim that one of its senior India policy executives intervened in internal communication to stop a permanent ban on a BJP MLA from Telangana after he allegedly made communally charged posts.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who heads the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, said the panel would like to hear from Facebook about the report.
“The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology would certainly wish to hear from Facebook about these reports and what they propose to do about hate-speech in India,” Tharoor said in a tweet.
Reacting to Tharoor’s comments, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey said the subjects which are permissible and are in accordance with rules of parliamentary standing committees could be raised.