Delhi Assembly panel finds Facebook complicit in Delhi riots, to summon company officials

Delhi Assembly’s Peace and Harmony Committee headed by Raghav Chadha on Monday said that “prima facie” it appears Facebook “played a role” in aggravating the Northeast Delhi riots.

The committee has also urged the need for an independent investigation leading to the filing of a supplementary chargesheet in the ongoing cases related to Delhi violence.

A Delhi Assembly panel Monday recorded depositions of expert witnesses over complaints about Facebook's alleged "intentional inaction to contain hateful content" in India, and decided to summon officials of the social media platform in its next meeting, a statement said.

The proceedings of the panel on peace and harmony follow a recent Wall Street Journal report which claimed that one of Facebook's senior India policy executives intervened in internal communication to stop a permanent ban on a BJP MLA from Telangana after he allegedly made communally charged posts.

"The committee through its Chairman Raghav Chadha has prima facie found Facebook complicit in Delhi riots of February 2020 on the premise of incriminatory material produced on record by the witnesses as well as their scathing depositions before the Committee, and thus deciding to summon the Facebook officials in its next meeting in order to examine them on oath and determine on their culpability," the statement said.

Earlier this month, Facebook had said its social media platform prohibits hate speech and content that incites violence and these policies are enforced globally without regard to political affiliation.

The Assembly panel also stated that three witnesses -- Chhattisgarh-based journalist Awesh Tiwari, and independent journalists Kunal Purohit and Subhash Gatade -- were examined by the committee in its second sitting on Monday.

"The witnesses today submitted incriminating material on record before the committee as well as made scathing depositions against Facebook Inc, prima facie reflecting the complicity of the Social Media giant in aggravation of Delhi Riots," the statement said.

On the basis of the deposition of the witnesses and material provided by them, the Committee has decided to issue summons for the appearance of Facebook officials, it added. In its first sitting, the committee had last Tuesday examined three other witnesses including senior journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta.

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Free Press Journal