New Delhi: The Parliamentary Panel on IT has summoned representatives of Facebook to appear before the committee on September 2 to discuss the subject of "safeguarding citizens' rights and prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms including special emphasis on women security in the digital space".
Officials of the IT Ministry have also been asked to be present during the meeting, as per an official statement.
The development comes amid a full-fledged battle between the BJP and the Congress on the issue of Facebook and a BJP committee member demanding removal of panel Chairman, Congress' Shashi Tharoor, from the post.
After privilege notices from both sides, BJP's Nishikant Dubey on Thursday sought the removal of Tharoor as the Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology.
In a letter to Speaker Om Birla, he requested him "to invoke Rule 283 with provisions in rules of procedures for removing Shashi Tharoor as Chairman of the IT panel".
He alleged that Tharoor had showed "disdain" in summoning Facebook and sending notice on breach of privilege against him. "He (Tharoor) is not a new architect in creating unnecessary controversies to grind his political ambitions and at the same time, targeting my party, even by misusing the parliamentary institutions," he said in the letter.
Tharoor gave notice for breach of privilege against Dubey for his alleged "disparaging" remarks, and Dubey hit back with a privilege notice against him as well as Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
The row erupted after a Wall Street Journal report, published early this week, which said that Facebook refused to comply with its hate-speech policy and allowed anti-Muslim posts on its platform to avoid ruining the social media company's relationship with the Indian government.
The report quoted current and former Facebook employees who said that the company's top public-policy executive in the country, Ankhi Das, opposed applying the hate-speech rules to T Raja Singh and at least three other Hindu nationalist individuals and groups flagged internally for promoting or participating in violence.