Facebook objects to Delhi assembly notice on alleged inaction in hate speech cases


Facebook on Tuesday asked Delhi assembly to withdraw a summon notice on alleged inaction in hate speech cases. The social media giant said that matter falls within Centre’s purview.

“The regulation of intermediaries like Facebook fall within exclusive authority of the Union of India. Given that the matters are under consideration by Parliament, we object to the Notice and request you recall it,” Facebook India said in its reply to Delhi assembly.

A Delhi Assembly committee on peace and harmony has issued a notice to Facebook India vice president and managing director Ajit Mohan asking him to appear before it on September 15 in connection with complaints about the social media platform’s alleged deliberate and intentional inaction to contain hateful content in the country.

The panel is headed by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislator from Rajendra Nagar, Raghav Chadha.

“Facebook’s letter is in disregard of committee’s privilege. Facebook’s refusal to appear before the committee is an attempt to conceal crucial facts in relation to its role in Delhi riots. Fresh summons will be issued to it in line with principles of natural justice,” said Chadha.

The notice was issued after the committee said that prima facie, it has found that Facebook was allegedly complicit in aggravating the February riots in north-east Delhi that left 53 dead and at least 400 injured. These primarily have to do with posts on its platform ahead of and during the rites.

Meanwhile, former employee of Facebook said that a “politically-sophisticated” attempt to influence the Delhi elections in February played out on the social media platform before it was taken down silently.

Former Facebook data scientist Sophie Zhang also cited examples in the memo of how the company has failed to act on time or with transparency in tackling attempts to undermine democratic processes around the world.

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