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Congress writes to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over ‘bias’; demands high-level probe into conduct of India team

The Congress party has demanded a high-level inquiry into Facebook India leadership team and their operations by its headquarters after allegations of bias by its executives.

In a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday, Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal accused Facebook India of “interfering” with the country’s electoral democracy, and demanded that the company should “consider a new team to lead Facebook India operations so as to not influence the probe”.

“Congress repeatedly raised the issue of bias with many executives of Facebook and WhatsApp. In one such meeting, I also participated and raised multiple issues to mostly deaf ears. To add, other political parties have also raised the same issue in India`s Parliament,” Venugopal said in the letter.

The letter further said it “is still not too late to course-correct and make amends.” Venugopal demanded setting up of a high-level inquiry by Facebook headquarters into the Facebook India leadership team “and their operations and submit a report to the board of Facebook Inc”.

“The report should also be made public,” he said further.

“Publish and make transparent all instances of hate speech posts since 2014 that were allowed on the platform. Until the completion of the internal investigation and submission of the report, please consider to lead Facebook India operations by a new team so as to not influence the investigation,” the letter read.

“The WSJ article mentions hate speech of at least three other politicians that were wilfully permitted by Facebook India,” he said.

Venugopal said other political parties have raised the issue in India’s Parliament adding that the Congress has separately demanded a probe by a Parliamentary Committee in India into “this very serious issue of Facebook’s interference in world’s largest electoral democracy”.

He said that the Congress is joined by other leading political parties in “expressing fear over Facebook’s purported role in manipulating India’s electoral democracy”.