The Opposition combine INDIA has accused social media platforms WhatsApp, Facebook and Google of aiding the “hate project” in India and said this amounts to subverting democracy and would not be tolerated.
The combine has written to Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta Inc, which controls Facebook and WhatsApp, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai saying the concerns of a group that represents half of India and rules 11 states cannot be dismissed. The Congress had written to these platforms earlier, too, expressing similar concerns.
“You may be aware of the recent exposes by the Washington Post newspaper about the role of WhatsApp and Facebook in aiding the communal hatred campaign of the ruling BJP,” the letters, similar in content, said.
“Specifically, the article cites details of how this vile, communally divisive propaganda is carried out using WhatsApp groups by BJP members and supporters.
“In another article titled ‘Under India’s pressure, Facebook let propaganda and hate speech thrive’, the Post has elucidated with evidence the blatant partisanship by Facebook India executives towards the ruling dispensation. This was well known to us in the Opposition for a long time, and (we) have even raised it several times in the past.”
Citing next year’s general election, the Opposition alliance said: “It is very clear from these exhaustive investigations by the Washington Post that Meta is culpable of abetting social disharmony and inciting communal hatred in India.
“Further, we have data that shows algorithmic moderation and suppression of Opposition leaders’ content on your platform while also promoting ruling party content.
“Such blatant partisanship and bias towards one political formation by a private foreign company is tantamount to interfering in India’s democracy, one that we in the INDIA alliance will not take lightly.”
The letters have requested these social media platforms to consider these concerns
seriously and immediately ensure that their operations in India remain neutral and do not deliberately or unwittingly help create social unrest or distort India’s democratic ideals.
“It is ironical that we are writing this letter in the birth month anniversary of the greatest champion of non-violence and social harmony in history, Mahatma Gandhi. We are confident that you and Meta also yearn for a harmonious India that the Mahatma wished for. We look forward to your full cooperation in this regard,” the letters said.
The letters were signed by Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi (both Congress), Sharad Pawar (NCP), Uddhav Thackeray (Shiv Sena UBT), Hemant Soren (JMM), T.R. Baalu (DMK), Lalan Singh (JDU), Akhilesh Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Tejashwi Yadav (RJD), Derek O’Brien (Trinamul), Sitaram Yechury (CPM), D. Raja (CPI), Omar Abdullah (National Conference) and Mehbooba Mufti (PDP). The Aam Aadmi Party and some others were not among the signatories.