Cong accuses BJP of controlling Facebook; saffron social gathering hits again

New Delhi, August 16

A slugfest erupted between the Congress and the BJP on Sunday following a report within the Wall Street Journal claiming that Facebook ignored making use of its hate speech guidelines to politicians of the ruling social gathering in India.

Seizing on the report, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi accused the BJP and RSS of spreading “fake news” utilizing Facebook and WhatsApp to affect the citizens, triggering a pointy counter-attack from Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad who reminded the opposition social gathering of the Cambridge Analytica concern.

The Congress demanded a probe by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) into the costs talked about within the report, saying they threaten the inspiration of Indian democracy and have to be investigated.

Hitting again, Prasad tweeted, “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,” he mentioned.

His sturdy response got here after Gandhi took to Twitter to slam the BJP and RSS following the report and posted a display seize of it.

“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,” Gandhi mentioned.

In the report revealed on Friday, the US newspaper cited interviews with unnamed Facebook insiders to assert that certainly one of its senior India coverage executives intervened in inside communication to cease a everlasting ban on a BJP MLA from Telangana after he allegedly made communally charged posts.

There was no fast touch upon the problem by Facebook, for whom India is among the quickest rising markets globally with over 340 million customers.

Countering Gandhi’s remarks, Prasad additionally mentioned, “The fact is that today access to information and freedom of expression has been democratized. It is no longer controlled by retainers of your family and that is why it hurts.”

Prasad’s reference to Cambridge Analytica was concerning the allegations the Congress confronted in 2018 that the UK-based agency supplied the social gathering information mining of Facebook posts to influencing voters in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Congress had rejected the costs.

Congress chief Shashi Tharoor, who heads the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, mentioned the panel wish to hear from Facebook concerning 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,” he tweeted.

BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, reacting to Tharoor’s feedback, mentioned the themes that are permissible and are in accordance with guidelines of parliamentary standing committees could possibly be raised.

But on the identical time, he added that these panels shouldn’t be made a political platform by members to fulfill “ego of their respective party leaders”.

Congress spokesperson Ajay Maken, at a digital press convention, demanded a JPC probe into the costs that Facebook ignored its hate speech coverage in coping with BJP lawmakers.

“The Congress party demands a JPC probe to ascertain the charges on how Facebook is helping the BJP in elections and in spreading hatred and fake news in society. There should be a JPC probe on how Facebook is helping the BJP,” he instructed reporters.

He mentioned Facebook world must also maintain a probe to determine the alleged hyperlinks of a few of its staff with the ruling social gathering, to assist shield its personal credibility.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted: “Facebook-Whatsapp sinister connection to BJP Government exposed.” — PTI

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