The Congress party on August 29 wrote to Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg for the second time this month, asking him to disclose the measures being taken by the social media giant to investigate the allegations around the company's India unit being biased towards the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Congress general secretary in-charge of organisation KC Venugopal also asked Zuckerberg to explain the report published in Time magazine on August 27, claiming that BJP has been allowed to exercise control of Whatsapp’s India operations.
At a press conference, the opposition party also demanded an investigation by a Joint Parliamentary Committee into the alleged "links of Facebook employees and the ruling establishment". Congress also claimed that the report "revealed" more information and "evidence of biases and a quid pro quo relationship" of Facebook India with the BJP.
Tagging the Time magazine report, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi claimed in a tweet that it exposes the "WhatsApp-BJP nexus"."Used by 40 Cr Indians, WhatsApp also wants to be used for making payments for which Modi Government's approval is needed. Thus, BJP has a hold over WhatsApp," he alleged, without elaborating.
America's Time magazine exposes WhatsApp-BJP nexus:
Used by 40 Cr Indians, WhatsApp also wants to be used for making payments for which Modi Govt's approval is needed.
Thus, BJP has a hold over WhatsApp.https://t.co/ahkBD2o1WI— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 29, 2020
There was no immediate reaction from Facebook or the BJP on the allegations.
A report in the Wall Street Journal earlier this month had brought to fore similar allegations, which were strongly rejected by both Facebook and the BJP.
In his letter to Zuckerberg, Venugopal, referred to his earlier letter dated August 17 in which the party had requested the US-based company to investigate the allegations made in the Wall Street Journal article that the social media platform refused to apply hate speech rules to certain BJP politicians.
"We draw your attention to the article in Time magazine dated August 27 that reveals more information and evidence of biases and a quid-pro-quo relationship of Facebook India with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party," Venugopal said in the new letter dated August 29 and asked for details of steps being taken by the group.
"We will also be pursuing legislative and judicial actions in India to ensure that a foreign company cannot continue to cause social disharmony in our nation for their pursuit of private profits," he said.
At the party's press conference, spokesperson Pawan Khera and AICC data analytics department chief Praveen Chakravarty called for an "exhaustive and unbiased investigation by a Joint Parliamentary Committee between the unending links of Facebook employees and the ruling establishment".
"The investigation must include how Facebook manipulated voter opinion, allowed hate speech and was oblivious to fake news, even when they were in clear violation of their own regulations," they said in a statement.
"WhatsApp cannot be granted approvals for its payment operations until the inquiry is complete and the recommended actions are taken by the company," Khera and Chakravarty said.
They also demanded that the report of the investigation ordered by Facebook into the conduct of its Indian unit be made public.With inputs from PTI