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No Ground for Banning Bajrang Dal: Facebook India Head Tells Tharoor-led Parliamentary Panel

Image of Facebook used for representation.

Image of Facebook used for representation.

During the course of the meeting, panelists asked questions on a recent report published in the Wall Street Journal regarding a ban on saffron outfit Bajrang Dal.

Facebook India vice president and managing director Ajit Mohan and the platform’s public policy director Shivnath Thukral appeared before the Department Related Standing Committee for Information Technology on Wednesday.

During the course of the meeting, panelists asked questions on a report published in the Wall Street Journal regarding a ban on saffron outfit Bajrang Dal.

The WSJ report had stated that Facebook did not ban Bajrang Dal from the platform despite its safety team saying the outfit supported violence against minorities across the nation. The social media giant branded it as a "Dangerous Organization".

Opposition MPs, including Karti Chidambaram, Syed Naseer Husaain and panel chairman Shashi Tharoor asked Mohan on the issue of the citizens' data safety.

Sources said Mohan told the panel that Facebook India fact checkers have done due diligence and no content was found violating the platform’s social media policy. Hence, the option of banning does not apply to Bajrang Dal.

BJP MPs Nishikant Dubey and Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore asked Facebook that when its fact-checking team, comprising about 80 units across the country, did not find any proof against Bajrang Dal to be branded as a dangerous organisation, then why did it allow certain people, including politicians, to share it on Facebook and other social media platforms.. Facebook was asked why such news was not flagged as fake news and an attempt to spread hatred.

On Tuesday, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi had quoted the WSJ report calling it a proof of the domination of the BJP and RSS on social media giant Facebook.

Facebook told the panel that the matter is under the consideration and a reply on the same would be given to the committee at a later date.

The Vishva Hindu Parishad is contemplating moving court against WSJ over the matter.