Cong wants licences of Facebook, Whatsapp put on hold

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 9/1/2020 12:34:00 PM

NEW DELHI, Aug 31: With yet another expose of Facebook operations in India in the Wall Street Journal, the Congress on Monday sought that the all pending approvals and licences of both Facebook and its messenger service WhatsApp be put on hold pending a probe by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) and launch of the criminal probe against senior officials of both.
It said stringent action should be taken against those attacking integrity and democracy of the country to send out a clear message to the foreign companies not to dare attack the Indian ideals in future.
No foreign company be allowed to interfere in India's electoral democracy, it said, pointing out that three articles in a row now have clearly established the documentary evidence of Facebook’s interference and assault on India’s electoral democracy.
"We are now convinced this is a very serious and criminal offence and investigation must be taken on by us in India. These are facts revealed by international media publications," Congress spokesman Praveen Chakravarty told a press conference here.
He said Facebook's proximity almost goes back to 10 years. It was not just in 2019 that it showed their biases and interfrence. They have also done it in 2014 and also intervened and interfered in the 2012 Gujarat elections. "The latest article quotes Ms Katie Harbath, who is global head of elections for Facebook, personally talking about MsAnkhiDas's relationship and proximity to Narendra Modi," he pointed out.
Chakravarty said Congress Party has written two letters to Facebook Chairman Mark Zuckerberg asking him for an inquiry into India operations based on first two articles. Now, based on this article, we wonder if Facebook HQ is impartial themselves, he said.
In an internal message quoted in article, Ms Das acknowledges to her employees that she is biased, she reveals her bias but doesn't feel sorry about it. This is in response to a question asked by internal Facebook employees who seem alarmed at her blatant bias, Chakravarty said.
He said this article cites various quotes by Ankhi Das. In these internal emails, Ms Das establishes 3 things- a clear preference for BJP, apparent negative bias for Congress and most importantly allowing these biases to interfere and dictate her professional judgements.
Congress Lok Sabha leader Adhiranjan Choudhary sought an inquiry by Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology into the activities of all Heads of Public Policy teams of foreign technology companies operating in India, so as to establish a code of conduct for foreign companies to operate in India.



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