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Facebook Panel Appears Before Tharoor-led Committee, May Have to Depose Again With Whistle-blowers

Facebook told the Shashi Tharoor-led committee that the company has launched an internal investigation into the same. (File photo: PTI)

Facebook told the Shashi Tharoor-led committee that the company has launched an internal investigation into the same. (File photo: PTI)

The committee did not find the answers very satisfactory and has informed Facebook that it will be asked to depose again.

Representatives from Facebook India on Monday appeared before a committee for information and technology chaired by senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor.

The topic for discussion was: ‘To hear the views of the representatives of Facebook India on the subject Safeguarding citizens’ rights and prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms including special emphasis on women security in the digital space’.

The public policy director of Asia Pacific region Shivnath Thukral appeared before the committee along with the company’s legal head.

The committee expressed its concern with the views being expressed by whistle-blowers Sophie Zhang and Frances Haugen, who have spoken about the bias and the fact that there was not uniform regulation on the social media platform.

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While answering the same the representatives of the Facebook told the committee that the allegations made by Zhang Were unsubstantiated and that the company had launched an internal investigation into the same.

However, the committee did not find the answers very satisfactory and has informed Facebook that it will be asked to depose before the committee again. The committee also mentioned that it would be asking Zhang and Frances to appear before the committee and depose before the Lok Sabha Speaker on the same.

The committee further asked the social media giant on what is the policy to curb hate speech on their platform, especially one which is directed at women. Since India is a land of many languages, Facebook was asked as to what mechanism was being adopted to curb hate-filled comments and posts in various languages.

Facebook assured the committee that it has a robust mechanism in place to track and block hate content and that its team is working in adherence of the central government’s intermediary guidelines. It further assured that it has a zero-compromise policy for privacy and safety of its users.

Several other social media platforms, including Twitter, have deposed before the committee on the matter concerning women security in the digital space with more and more hate posts, including threats of rape and deaths, have been issued and directed against women.

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first published:November 30, 2021, 00:03 IST