Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera revived demands for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into Facebook, accusing it of being 'Fakebook' in India, as he claimed it was a 'fair weather ally' of the BJP and was aiding and abetting the spread of fake news and hate speech in India. The allegations are based on Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen's leaked documents from the company, which in parts show that Facebook employees believed their mechanisms to tackle hate speech were inadequate in India.
"Through the course of the 2019 elections, the brutal Delhi riots, Facebook knew very well that they weren't equipped to filter hate speech especially in Hindi and Bengali as per the leaked research documents," Khera said at a press conference. "...Facebook was and continues to be having damningly acute awareness about content against a particular section of Indian society and has consciously chosen not to act against it."
Khera alleged that the company was aware of the proliferation of fake accounts related to BJP propaganda and did nothing. The Congress had last year demanded a JPC probe in the wake of media reports that the Facebook in India, citing business reasons, didn't apply "hate-speech rules" to at least four individuals and groups linked with the BJP who were flagged internally for promoting or participating in violence.
"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?" Khera questioned.