NEW DELHI: CPM MP PR Natarajan has written to Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who is the chairman of the parliamentary panel on information and technology, demanding criminal investigation into Facebook's alleged links with the BJP.
Natarajan, an MP from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, took note of the notice that the committee had served to the social media company for its alleged questionable practices in India and promoting hate.
The committee has summoned representatives of Facebook and will hear their views "on the subject of safeguarding citizens' rights and prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms, including special emphasis on women security in the digital space," according to the agenda of the meeting.
"The conduct of Facebook is serious in nature and has far-reaching implications on our right to unbiased information," Natarajan said in the letter.
"The matter concerns the rights of citizens to information free from biases which the social media platform has violated. We need to take clear measures given the perilous state of democracy in India today. We face a growth in authoritarianism, diminished institutional independence and curbs on fundamental rights," the Lok Sabha MP said.
Natarajan underscored that the role of social media platforms like Facebook, and even WhatsApp, which "also till recently was controlled by the same public policy team", should be to support democratic values rather than undermining them.
He pointed out to a UN fact-finding report that found Facebook playing a central role on the "genocide" in Myanmar.
Natarajan alleged that the manner in which Facebook had intervened to influence voters in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party was an interference in the Indian electoral process by a foreign corporate house.
"This also brings into question the use of such a dubious company, which has a poor track record globally, by the ruling party to further its own electoral interests, while subverting Indian democracy.
"It is equally worrisome that many government bodies, institutions and departments have worked in close cooperation with FB, which has possibly compromised India's interests," he said.
The CPM leader stressed that was imperative that a criminal investigation be launched to establish the nature of the relationship between the BJP and FB, and its access to the government and constitutional bodies.
"Pending such an inquiry, FB should not be allowed to operate with any government department or constitutional body," he added.