Amid debate and allegations of links between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Facebook, Union Information Technology and Communications Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday wrote to CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
In a letter that was posted to Twitter by several individuals including ABP journalist Vikas Bhadauria, Prasad writes he has been informed about biases when it comes to Facebook India's outlook towards the "right-of-centre ideology".
"It is problematic when Facebook employees are on record abusing the Prime Minister and senior Cabinet Ministers of India while still working in Facebook India and managing Important positions," he writes.
"In the run up to 2019 General Elections in India, there was a concerted effort by Facebook India management to not just delete pages or substantially reduce their reach but also offer no recourse or right of appeal to affected people who are supportive of the right-of-centre ideology. I am also aware that dozens of emails written to Facebook management received no response," he writes.
Prasad attributes this to the "dominant political beliefs" of the members of the Facebook India team. "It seems from credible media reports that Facebook India team, right from the India Managing Director to other senior officials, is dominated by people who belong to a particular political belief," he alleges.
This is a deviation from the earlier allegations that were being thrown around, wherein the BJP had been linked to Facebook. At the root of the discussion had been a recent Wall Street Journal article that claimed that a senior Facebook official in India was opposed to applying hate speech rules against leaders associated with the BJP and other Hindutva groups. As per the report, Ankhi Das, who is Facebook’s top public policy executive in India, opposed applying hate speech rules to the BJP’s T. Raja Singh out of fear of ruining the company’s relationship with the ruling party.
Even as debate, discussions and allegations flew back and forth, the Congress too had written to Zuckerberg over the issue. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had even tweeted recently that the "BJP and RSS control Facebook and WhatsApp in India".