Delhi Demands Meeting With Facebook Officials After Whistleblower Shares Fake News Dossier
15:07 GMT 26.11.2021 (Updated: 18:23 GMT 03.11.2022)
Two former employees of Facebook - Frances Haugen and Sophie Zhang, who turned whistleblowers in October - revealed that the social-media giant failed to get a grip on fake news, hate speech, and inflammatory content among Indian users.
New Delhi on Friday required officials from Facebook India to appear before the Information Technology Parliamentary Committee to comment on allegations levelled by former Facebook employee Sophie Zhang, an Indian daily newspaper reported.
"Sophie Zhang, a former Facebook employee who made public the company's alleged unethical practices, has shared a dossier with the house panel headed by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor," the Indian Express said.
The Facebook officials have been asked to appear before the Indian parliamentary committee on 29 November, the report added.
Zhang said that she is ready to testify before the Indian Parliament if New Delhi opens an investigation into malpractice at the social media giant.
In October, Zhang, a former data scientist at Facebook, revealed that major political parties, including Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the federally ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress party, had used fake accounts during the 2020 Delhi Legislative Assembly election to influence voters.
According to Zhang, Facebook was "allowing authoritarian governments to manipulate political discourse".
In October, another whistleblower, Frances Haugen, testified before a US Senate panel that provided a case study of 2021 showing harmful content from Hindu nationalist organisation, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and Bajrang Dal (another Hindu group), was not adequately flagged on Facebook and WhatsApp.
Haugen also provided the Wall Street Journal with documents that became the basis for the publication's 'Facebook Files' series. The whistleblower also reported "potential criminal violations" by Facebook to the authorities.
Zhang's testimony came just weeks after Haugen's as she testified before a US panel and urged the authorities to intervene in the "crisis" created by the company, saying that Facebook cannot tackle harmful content online.
Taking note of the report in the Wall Street Journal, the Indian parliamentary committee in September summoned Facebook representatives over allegations suggesting that Facebook had chosen to overlook hate speech made by BJP politicians on its platform.