NEW DELHI: Facebook and WhatsApp are in the midst of a controversy with the Congress alleging their connivance with the ruling BJP in not following rules of removing hate content from their platform for commercial advantages.
On the basis of a report published in an American newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, Rahul Gandhi has alleged that Facebook and WhatsApp are controlled by BJP and RSS in India.
Describing the matter as shocking, the Congress has demanded the formation of a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to investigate it.
At the same time, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has tweeted that, "Our Parliamentary committee will, in the normal course, consider testimony under the topic 'Safeguarding citizens' rights and prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms'. The subject is squarely within the IT Cmt's mandate and Facebook has been summoned in the past."
Describing the issue as creating an atmosphere of hatred in the country and attacking the roots of democracy, Congress leader Ajay Maken has demanded a JPC investigation.
Maken said, "The JPC should examine how Facebook and WhatsApp are working to help the BJP in the elections and to create an atmosphere of hatred."
At the press conference, Maken said, "It should also be examined how many employees who are in big posts in Facebook and WhatsApp have old ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party and their leaders."
The Congress, on the basis of Wall Street Journal, accused Public Policy Director, Facebook -India, Ankhi Das, of allegedly obstructing action on BJP leaders' hate-filled posts and speeches.
The Congress has asked the government whether it is linked to Facebook's application for 'business interest', 'WhatsApp Pay' licence? The Congress claimed that Rashmi Das, a close relative of Ankhi Das, had been the president of ABVP, the student wing of the RSS at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). The Congress also said that Shivnath Thakral, a top official of WhatsApp, has done campaign work for BJP.
Referring to the interrogation of the Facebook head in the US, Congress leader Maken demanded, "When Facebook was accused in the US, it was called and questioned by the head of the Senate. A similar parliamentary inquiry in Brazil was also done. Similarly, the government in India should set up a JPC to investigate the allegations."
At the same time, Congress has also demanded Facebook to investigate the issue raised in the WSJ's report at its level, because the big question is of their credibility. Ajay Maken said that the largest number of people using Facebook worldwide live in India, close to 28 crore.