As Cong-BJP slugfest intensifies, Facebook clarifies political affiliation does not impact its policies

In the middle of the ongoing political slugfest between Congress and BJP revolving around social media giant Facebook, a company spokesperson has now clarified that Facebook “prohibits hate speech and content that incites violence”.

News agency ANI has quoted the spokesperson as saying, “We enforce these policies globally without regard to anyone’s political position/party affiliation.”

The Facebook spokesperson also said that the platform is “making progress on enforcing and conducting regular audits of its processes to ensure fairness and accuracy”.

The statement assumes significance in the backdrop of the intense political tug of war that has now erupted following Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s tweet alleging that BJP and RSS control Facebook and Whatsapp in India.

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Taking to Twitter, Rahul Gandhi had said, “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”. He had also attached clippings of news reports which appeared in the US.

Taking a cue, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor also said the Parliamentary Standing Committee would wish to hear from Facebook on these allegations and what they propose to do vis-a-vis hate speech. Congress leaders Ajay Maken, Praveen Chakravarty and Rohan Gupta, demanded formation of a Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe Rahul’s allegations.

Our Parliamentary committee will, in the normal course, consider testimony under the topic “Safeguarding citizens’ rights & prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms”. The subject is squarely within the IT Cmt’s mandate& @Facebook has been summoned in the past.

BJP meanwhile came out all guns blazing at Rahul Gandhi accusing Congress of colluding with Cambridge Analytica and Facebook in the past to fulfill their own vested interests.

Leading the charge, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “Losers who cannot influence people even in their own party keep cribbing that the entire world is controlled by BJP & RSS. You were caught red-handed in alliance with Cambridge Analytica & Facebook to weaponise data before the elections & now have the gall to question us?”

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