New Delhi: The CPI(M) hit out at Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday over his accusation that social media giant Facebook was biased against the “right-wing”. In a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Prasad, the Union Minister for Information Technology, has said it is problematic that employees of his company are on record abusing the prime minister and senior cabinet ministers of the country while still working and managing important positions in Facebook India.
“I have been informed that in the run-up to the 2019 general election in India, there was a concerted effort by the Facebook India management to not just delete pages or substantially reduce their reach, but also offer no recourse or right of appeal to the affected people who are supportive of the right-of-center ideology,” Prasad wrote. Media reports suggest that the Facebook India team, right from its managing director to other senior officials, is dominated by people belonging to a particular political belief, the minister said in the letter.
“People from this political predisposition have been overwhelmingly defeated by the people in successive free and fair elections. After having lost all democratic legitimacy, they are trying to discredit India’s democratic process by dominating the decision-making apparatus of important social media platforms,” he said. “The last resort of the guilty is to hurl baseless charges against the Left. Let a JPC probe the nexus between the Facebook & BJP-Modi government. The refusal to constitute a JPC is more eloquent…,” CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said in a tweet.
Yechury’s tweet came after CPI(M) MP from Tamil Nadu PR Natarajan wrote to Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, demanding a criminal investigation into Facebook’s alleged links with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). A massive political row broke out after a report published in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) alleged that senior Facebook executives were opposed to applying the hate speech rules to the social media posts of certain leaders of the saffron party, with the BJP and the Congress engaged in a bitter war of words for the last three days over the issue.