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Caught in Political Row Over Bias Allegations: Facebook Denies Ties With Modi's BJP in India

© REUTERS / Dado RuvicA man is silhouetted against a video screen with a Facebook logo
A man is silhouetted against a video screen with a Facebook logo - Sputnik International
New Delhi (Sputnik): The issue took precedence after The Wall Street Journal published an article titled "Facebook's Hate Speech Rules Collide With Indian Politics", alleging that the tech firm had an affiliation with India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

A day after Indian opposition party leader Rahul Gandhi quoted an article in The Wall Street Journal to claim that the BJP and the Hindu activist group RSS control Facebook and WhatsApp in India, "by spreading fake news and hatred" through it, the social media giant has denied any affiliation with the political party.

"We prohibit hate speech and content that incites violence and we enforce these policies globally regardless of anyone's political position or party affiliation", Facebook said in a statement.

The social media giant also emphasised that it is in the process of enforcing and conducting regular audits to ensure fairness and accuracy.

The political slugfest intensified in India after opposition lawmakers alleged that Facebook let go its hate speech rules for politicians aligned with the BJP and demanded a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe to look into the BJP-Facebook "Nexus".

​The panel headed by former UN diplomat and Congress lawmaker Shashi Tharoor intimated that it wishes to hear from Facebook on the issue and its efforts to curb hate speech in India.

The Wall Street Journal, on 14 August, claimed that Facebook India executive Ankhi Das intervened in the move to ban controversial BJP politician T. Raja Singh for allegedly making hateful comments about Rohingya Muslim immigrants online and threatening to raze mosques to the ground.

Therefore, in its statement demanding a JPC probe into the issue, Congress noted, "Mr Singh had not only violated the company's hate speech rules, but qualified as dangerous, a designation that takes into account a person's off platform activities", the party quoted the company's current and former employees.

Meanwhile, federal Minister for Information and Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad has hit back at Congress by terming the allegations a tactic by "losers" who fail to influence even people of their party and "crib about the world being controlled by the BJP and the RSS".

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