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Facebook Used by Anarchic and Radical Groups: Union Minister

Amid the ongoing controversy alleging Facebook executives were biased with the ruling BJP, union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad wrote a letter to the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg alleging that the employees of Facebook are on record abusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior cabinet ministers while working in Facebook India and managing important positions. 

Mr. Prasad went on to add “I would like to point out that there have also been multiple instances recently where Facebook has been used by anarchic & radical elements whose sole aim is to destroy social order, to recruit people and to assemble them for violence. However, we are yet to see any meaningful action against such elements,”.

The IT minister mentioned about the information regarding the concerted effort by the Facebook India management to delete pages or reduce their reach and did not offer any recourse or right to appeal for the affected people who were in support of the right-of-center ideology”. 

“As a transnational digital platform, Facebook must not only be fair and neutral but also visibly seen to be so, to users of diverse beliefs and ideologies. Individuals working in any organization may have their individual likes or dislikes, but that must not have any bearing on the public policies and performance of the organization,”. “After having lost all democratic legitimacy, they are trying to discredit India’s democratic process by dominating the decision-making apparatus of important social media platforms. Facebook is the latest tool in their arsenal to stoke internal divisions and social disturbances,” Ravi Shankar Prasad mentioned in the letter.

The recent allegations add fuel to the already raging political row over US media articles suggesting Facebook’s bias dealing with posts from members of the BJP and the rightwing.

A recent report published in the Wall Street Journal alleged that the social networking site did not apply any hate speech rules on members of the ruling party and in a second report by WSJ made key allegations on Ankhi Das, head of public policy in Facebook India stating that she made internal postings over several years showcasing her support for the ruling BJP.

Mr. Prasad urged the CEO to bring country-specific community guidelines, and stated deep entrenched vested interests aren’t satisfied with the shrinking space of one side of the spectrum in India and wants to throttle it completely.” 

To get a detailed response on the reports Facebook officials are asked to appear before the parliamentary committee tomorrow that is headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor.

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