Accusing Facebook India of interfering with India’s electoral process, the Congress on Sunday demanded a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to probe allegations.
The demand has led to the triggering a war of words between the BJP and the Congress.
The latest spat between the two parties has been triggered by an investigation published by the Wall Street Journal, in which it has been reported that Facebook India officials provided “favourable treatment to the BJP on election-related issues”.
The investigative report further alleged that Facebook India officials violated the company’s own guidelines on hate speech as it refused to take down objectionable comments by BJP leaders.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, responding to the news report, accused the BJP-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) of “controlling” Facebook India.
He further alleged that BJP-RSS has been controlling Facebook to spread fake news, hatred and influence the electorate.
“BJP & RSS control of Facebook & Whatsapp in India. They spread fake news and hatred through it and use it to influence the electorate. Finally, the American media has come out with the truth about Facebook,” Gandhi tweeted.
BJP & RSS control Facebook & Whatsapp in India.
They spread fake news and hatred through it and use it to influence the electorate.
Finally, the American media has come out with the truth about Facebook. pic.twitter.com/Y29uCQjSRP
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 16, 2020
The former INC president also tagged the WSJ report that said FB India’s top public policy executive, Ankhi Das, had opposed taking down controversial statements of a BJP leader.
The WSJ further alleged that Das had reportedly told her colleagues that “punishing violations by BJP leaders would affect the company’s business in the country”.
Hitting back strongly on Rahul Gandhi, information and technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad called the former INC president a ‘loser’.
“Losers who cannot influence people even in their own party keep cribbing that the entire world is controlled by BJP & RSS. You were caught red-handed in alliance with Cambridge Analytica & Facebook to weaponise data before the elections & now have the gall to question us?” Prasad said in his response to the Congress leader.
He further accused the Congress of trying to manipulate data with the help of Facebook (FB) and the now-defunct political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica.