Facebook favors row: Congress party writes to Zuckerberg


India’s Congress party Tuesday said it had written to Facebook CEO mark Zuckerberg demanding a probe after The Wall Street Journal reported that the social network had willfully turned a blind eye to hate speech on its platform from leaders of the BJP, prime minister Narendra Modi’s party.

The letter to Zuckerberg, written by Congress party general secretary KC Venugopal, said: “Set up a high-level inquiry by Facebook headquarters into Facebook India’s leadership team and their operations in a time-bound manner, and publish and make transparent all instances of hate speech since 2014 that was allowed on the platform. Facebook India should appoint a new team so that the investigation is not influenced.”

The Congress party said The Wall Street Journal carried a “damning and serious allegation of Facebook India’s interference in India’s electoral democracy.”

The Opposition party has accused the BJP and the RSS of controlling Facebook and WhatsApp in India and attacking democracy in the country. The party has demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into alleged violations by the social media platform and its messaging service.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “We cannot allow any manipulation of our hard-earned democracy through bias, fake news & hate speech. As exposed by @WSJ, Facebook’s involvement in peddling fake and hate news needs to be questioned by all Indians.”

Ajay Maken, a Congress party spokesperson, said: “There are 40 crore [400 million] Indians on WhatsApp and over 28 crore [280 million] on Facebook. So, a probe is necessary into the commercial dealings, propagation of hate content, and connection of Facebook and WhatsApp employees with the BJP.”

The Indian government had not responded at the time of publishing this report.

However, Ravi Shankar Prasad, a federal minister, tweeted: “Losers who cannot influence people even in their own party keep cribbing that the entire world is controlled by BJP & RSS.”


WSJ report that ‘Facebook allowed BJP hate speech’ stirs storm