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Congress writes to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over 'bias'; demands high-level probe into conduct of India team

Congress has demanded a high-level inquiry into Facebook India leadership team and their operations by its headquarters after allegations of bias by its executives. In a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday, Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal accused Facebook India of "interfering" with the country's electoral democracy.

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Congress writes to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over 'bias'; demands high-level probe into conduct of India team
We cannot allow any manipulation of our hard-earned democracy through bias, fake news & hate speech, Rahul Gandhi said
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The Congress party has demanded a high-level inquiry into Facebook India leadership team and their operations by its headquarters after allegations of bias by its executives. 

In a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday, Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal accused Facebook India of "interfering" with the country's electoral democracy, and demanded that the company should "consider a new team to lead Facebook India operations so as to not influence the probe".

"Congress repeatedly raised the issue of bias with many executives of Facebook and WhatsApp. In one such meeting, I also participated and raised multiple issues to mostly deaf ears. To add, other political parties have also raised the same issue in India`s Parliament," Venugopal said in the letter.

The letter further said it "is still not too late to course-correct and make amends." Venugopal demanded setting up of a high-level inquiry by Facebook headquarters into the Facebook India leadership team "and their operations and submit a report to the board of Facebook Inc".

"The report should also be made public," he said further. 

"Publish and make transparent all instances of hate speech posts since 2014 that were allowed on the platform. Until the completion of the internal investigation and submission of the report, please consider to lead Facebook India operations by a new team so as to not influence the investigation," the letter read.

"The WSJ article mentions hate speech of at least three other politicians that were wilfully permitted by Facebook India," he said.

Venugopal said other political parties have raised the issue in India's Parliament adding that the Congress has separately demanded a probe by a Parliamentary Committee in India into "this very serious issue of Facebook's interference in world's largest electoral democracy".

He said that the Congress is joined by other leading political parties in "expressing fear over Facebook's purported role in manipulating India's electoral democracy". 

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted a copy of the letter, saying that "we cannot allow any manipulation of our hard-earned democracy through bias, fake news & hate speech."

"We cannot allow any manipulation of our hard-earned democracy through bias, fake news & hate speech. As exposed by @WSJ (Wall Street Journal), Facebook`s involvement in peddling fake and hate news needs to be questioned by all Indians," he tweeted.

The Congress and other opposition parties have attacked the social media giant after the report alleged that Facebook did not apply its hate speech rules to some BJP leaders.

Earlier on Monday, Facebook said the company's social media platform prohibits hate speech and content that incites violence, adding these policies are enforced globally without regard to political affiliation.

However, the company acknowledged that "there is more to do".

India is among Facebook's largest markets globally in terms of the number of users. 

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