Home / Politics / News /  Facebook official refuses to appear before Delhi assembly panel in hateful content probe

NEW DELHI : Facebook India vice-president and managing director Ajit Mohan on Monday refused to appear before Delhi assembly committee, which is probing complaints about the social media giant's inaction to contain hateful content. The committee is also probing if “there is any role or complicity of Facebook officials in Delhi Riots", which took place earlier this year.

The committee has decided to issue a final warning to Facebook to ensure the appearance of its official on the next date of meeting. A refusal to appear would be considered as an “act of breach of privilege". The move, which is in contempt, may lead to charges being initiated under the Indian penal code.

In its reply to the committee, Facebook said that the matter falls under the purview of the Union government and urged the Delhi government to recall the notice.

“Given that the issues raised by the Notice involve subject matter within the exclusive domain of the Union of India, and that the matters are under active consideration by Parliament, we respectfully object to the Notice and request you to recall it," Facebook’s director for trust & safety, Vikram Langeh said in a letter to the chairman of the committee.

Chairman of the committee and Aam Aadmi Party MLA, Raghav Chadha said that the refusal is in contempt and shows that Facebook is attempting to hide its role in the Delhi riots.

Instead of using this opportunity to dispel the allegations and restoring faith and confidence Facebook has blatantly refused to participate, Chadha added.

If an issue is under investigation in the Parliament, it does not stop the Delhi assembly from looking into it, Chadha said adding that, state legislature functions independent of the Parliament.

"The parliament committee is looking into “safeguarding citizens rights and prevention of misuse of social/ online news media platforms including special emphasis on women’s security in digital space". The Parliament committee is not looking into any issue related to the Delhi riots and Facebook’s role," Chadha explained.

The Delhi assembly committee on peace & harmony, which is looking into the allegations, had issued a notice to Mohan, asking him to appear before it on 15 September.

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 has so far called experts and journalists to depose on the matter.

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