Home >Politics >News >BJP, Congress spar over Facebook at IT meet

Facebook representatives at a parliamentary committee sitting were handed lists with names of its officials allegedly acting under the influence of either the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or the opposition and told to turn up for the next meeting with answers to questions posed by lawmakers.

Members of the parliamentary committee on information technology (IT) attending the three-and-a-half-hour-long meeting on Wednesday decided that the second round of meeting with officials from the social media company will take place possibly next week.

In the meeting, senior members of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) gave the names of at least eight Facebook officials who they suspected are under the influence of either the Congress or Left parties.

Those from opposition, particularly Trinamool Congress (TMC), too, handed over a similar list of names who they think have connections with organizations related to the BJP. The Congress, too, made similar allegations.

In the marathon meeting, senior leaders of the NDA also asked for a written explanation by Facebook about recent allegations made in a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report that a senior Facebook India official favoured the BJP in the 2014 general elections.

Ajit Mohan, managing director of Facebook India, appeared before the panel, officials said. According to the people cited above Facebook officials told the committee the social media platform has deleted 22.5 million hate speech videos across the world but they did not have India- specific figures. They added that they will give India-related figures in the next meeting.

A Facebook spokesperson in an emailed response to Mint about Wednesday’s meeting, said, “We thank the honorable parliamentary committee for their time. We remain committed to be an open and transparent platform, and to giving people voice and allowing them to express themselves freely."

Panel chairman Shashi Tharoor tweeted: “...This is all I can say: we met for some three-and-a-half-hours and unanimously agreed to resume the discussion later, including with reps of Facebook."

Saumya Tewari contributed to the story.

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