Recently, Congress wrote two letters to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg citing the social media giant’s inclination towards the BJP. Now Facebook has responded to the Congress.
Replying to Congress general secretary KC Venugopal, who had sent two letters, Neil Potts, Facebook’s director of Public Policy said, “We take seriously the concerns and recommendations you raised on behalf of the Indian National Congress.”
There was no allusion of the Congress’s demand that Facebook set up a time-bound “high-level inquiry” into its leadership team in India. Neither was there any remark of the charges levelled by the Congress against Facebook India’s Public Policy director Ankhi Das based on the articles which had appeared in The Wall Street Journal.
Potts explained that Facebook is “non-partisan” and aims to ensure that its platforms remain a space where personalities can express themselves freely.
“We take allegations of bias seriously and want to make clear that we denounce hate and bigotry in all forms. In the last interaction with you and other esteemed members of your party, we described our Community Standards—our policies on what is and isn’t allowed on Facebook—and shared the steps we have taken on our platforms in the wake of COVID-19.”
He said as part of Facebook’s policy addition process; it consults a community of external voices, including civil society organizations, academics, and subject experts.
“We also rely extensively on inputs from a broad cross-section of internal teams who understand both local and global contexts. We have a team with deep expertise on terrorism and organized hate, who pay attention to global and regional trends and advise on these matters,” he said.
Potts in his reply said “Public Policy is a diverse team representing a varied political spectrum, who have either served in many administrations or have political experience and take immense pride in being active contributors to public service—this is the case not only in India but also globally. Together, we have a non-partisan approach in dealing with content and have designed systems to ensure we are enforcing policies globally without regard for anyone’s past political positions, party affiliation, or beliefs.”
Responding to the reply by Facebook, Praveen Chakravarty, head of Data Analytics department of the Congress, said it was not a federal issue. “This is about India’s democracy and use of digital weapons to disrupt India’s social order by a foreign company, at the behest of certain individuals in their leadership team,” he said.
“We have today received a response from Facebook Inc. Facebook has thanked the Congress party for raising this concern and acknowledged its seriousness while not refuting any of the charges made against individuals of the Facebook India leadership team in the media articles.” Chakravarty said.