Facebook on Wednesday said it remains committed to be an open and transparent platform, and allow people to express themselves freely on the platform amid a raging row over the social media giant's alleged political bias. The comments came hours after its India Head of Facebook Ajit Mohan appeared before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology that is looking into alleged misuse of social media platforms.
“We thank the Honorable Parliamentary Committee for their time. We remain committed to be an open and transparent platform, and to giving people voice and allowing them to express themselves freely," a Facebook spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement. Details of what transpired during the closed-door hearing were not immediately known.
“In response to overwhelming media interest in the meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology; this is all I can say: We met for some three and a half hours and unanimously agreed to resume the discussion later, including with representatives of Facebook," the panel’s chief and senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said in a tweet on Wednesday.
Facebook has been in the eye of a storm after a Wall Street Journal report alleged that Facebook’s content policies favoured the ruling party in India. Since then, the ruling BJP and Congress have been trading barbs over social media giant’s alleged bias.
In the wake of the WSJ report, the Parliamentary panel had summoned Facebook representatives to discuss the issue of alleged misuse of the social media platform. On Monday, a fresh round of political slugfest started with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi claiming that the international media has “exposed" Facebook and WhatsApp’s “brazen assault" on India’s democracy and social harmony.
WhatsApp is owned by Facebook. On Tuesday, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also wrote to Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg accusing the social media platform’s employees of supporting people from a political predisposition that lost successive elections, and “abusing" Prime Minister and senior cabinet ministers.(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)