New Delhi: Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra Tuesday claimed that issues pertaining to Facebook India’s lack of action on hate speech were internally raised in the company in 2018, according to former employees who contacted her.
“Ex-employees of Facebook have reached out to us informally and informed us that, in fact, these were raised in Q&A sessions within Facebook internally as far back as 2018, but nothing much was done about it,” said Moitra, the MP from Krishnanagar, in a video statement posted on Twitter.
“Facebook has a lot to be accountable for, not just to the Parliamentary Standing Committee but to the public of India. The sooner these answers come, the better it will be,” she added.
Moitra is a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology that is chaired by Shashi Tharoor.
ThePrint reached Moitra through phone calls and text messages but didn’t receive a response until the time of publishing this report.
A few questions for Facebook pic.twitter.com/Q8T5n7vz4U
— Mahua Moitra (@MahuaMoitra) August 18, 2020
An MP with the standing committee, requesting anonymity, said, “The standing committee has not received any formal communication from any ex-employees of Facebook yet. They could have reached out to her (Moitra) informally in her capacity as committee member.”
Moitra’s statement came a day after BJP and the opposition members on the Parliamentary Standing Committee sparred over Tharoor’s tweet which stated that Facebook could be summoned for an inquiry over a report by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on 14 August.
The WSJ‘s report claimed that Facebook had turned a blind eye to hate speech posts by BJP leader and three other “Hindu nationalist individuals and groups” to protect its business interests in the region.
BJP MP Nishikant Dubey had attacked Tharoor, saying he had no right to publicly announce such a move without taking all the committee members into confidence.
Moitra backs Tharoor’s decision
Moitra’s claim comes as BJP’s Dubey said MPs on the standing committee would be writing to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla formally on the issue of Tharoor not taking all panel members into confidence.
However, Moitra defended Tharoor, saying: “When to schedule each item & who to call is Chairman’s prerogative.”
Tharoor hit back at Dubey saying it was “extraordinary that an MP would suggest that a matter of such great public interest should NOT be taken up by us!”
You are absolutely right, @mahuaMoitra,& by imputing motives to my decision, @nishikant_dubey has brought the Committee's work into disrepute, a matter I will take up. Extraordinary that an MP would suggest that a matter of such great public interest should NOT be taken up by us! https://t.co/8pRxZ5r6mU
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) August 17, 2020