Days after an article published in The Wall Street Journal claimed Facebook overlooks hate speech and objectionable content by BJP leaders, the social media giant responded by saying it does not allow speech and content inciting violence.
"We prohibit hate speech and content that incites violence and we enforce these policies globally without regard to anyone's political position or party affiliation. While we know there is more to do, we're making progress on enforcement and conduct regular audits of our process to ensure fairness and accuracy," a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying by ANI.
An article published in The Wall Street Journal on Friday had stated Facebook India "took no action after BJP politicians posted content accusing Muslims of intentionally spreading the coronavirus, plotting against the nation and waging a 'love jihad' campaign by seeking to marry Hindu women". The report quoted a former Facebook employee as saying.
The report has created a buzz in political circles with hashtag 'Anti-India Facebook' trending on Twitter for several hours.
It also triggered a heated exchange between the Congress and the BJP with Rahul Gandhi, in a no-holds-barred attack, accusing the BJP of ‘controlling WhatsApp and Facebook". Reacting to the accusation, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad dubbed Rahul Gandhi a "loser" who "keeps cribbing". Prasad also reminded him of the grand old party's alleged alliance with Cambridge Analytica.
"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?" Prasad tweeted.
Ajay Maken, spokesman of the Congress party, later said at a news briefing, "Congress party demands the setting up of a joint parliamentary committee to probe the relations of Facebook and WhatsApp employees with the ruling party." Maken also urged the company to launch an internal enquiry into its Indian oversight team. "This is an issue of Facebook's global credibility," he said.
In 2018, Cambridge Analytica (CA) whistleblower Christopher Wylie said the controversial data analytics firm "worked extensively" in India, and named Congress as its client while testifying before the UK Parliament.
They (Cambridge Analytica) worked extensively in India. They have an office in India... I believe their client was Congress but I know that they have done all kinds of projects. I don't remember a national project but I know regionally. India's so big that one state can be as big as Britain. But they do have offices there, they do have staff," Wylie had said.
Congress later refuted the charge and instead accused the BJP of hiring the firm to orchestrate its poll campaigns in several states in 2010 and during the Lok Sabha election in 2014. BJP countered the allegations and said the firm in question was founded in 2013 and could not have worked with either party in 2010.