Committee members recommended summoning officials of the social media platform to investigate allegations against them over their conduct on various instances, including the conduct of free and fair elections and the Delhi riots
New Delhi: The Delhi legislative assembly committee on peace and harmony on Tuesday initiated proceedings against Facebook for its alleged inaction to tackle harmful content on its platform.
In a meeting of the committee, which lasted for over three hours and was telecast live, members recommended summoning officials from the social media platform following the allegations against them over their conduct on various instances, including the conduct of free and fair elections and the Delhi riots.
"The witnesses that came before the committee today have all said that Facebook officials must be summoned before this committee so they can present their side and clarify their stance. This committee which was formed after the Delhi riots has received many complaints which said that Facebook did not remove hurtful content from its platform. This committee will call upon people from Facebook," Raghav Chadha, chairperson of the committee, said at the end of the proceedings.
The committee has initiated the first round of proceedings by summoning witnesses, including eminent journalist and author Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, digital rights activist and journalist Nikhil Pahwa, to assist the committee.
Last week, the Delhi legislative assembly committee on peace and harmony took cognizance of complaints against Facebook officials. The social media platform has faced criticism over allegations that it favours the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government in India, to push its own business goals in Asia’s third largest economy. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Ankhi Das, Facebook India’s director for public policy, had opposed the removal of content from BJP leaders, that qualified as hate speech.
The committee is also probing if “there is any role or complicity of Facebook officials in Delhi Riots" which took place earlier this year.
"At the start of this year, the violence was seen in Delhi and the communal violence that followed. The role of Facebook in those riots has to be investigated, that is clear from today's meeting. The witnesses also raised concerns over the conduct of free and fair elections through selective functioning of Facebook," Chadha added.