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IT panel summons Facebook India officials after whistleblower shares dossier on fake news, hate speech

Revelations made by a Facebook whistleblower on how the social media big dealt with misinformation and hate information on its platform, which additionally reportedly had an impression in India forward of the final common elections, has reached the Information Technology Parliamentary Committee.

Sophie Zhang, a former Facebook worker who made the corporate’s alleged unethical working public, has shared a dossier with the home panel headed by Congress chief Shashi Tharoor, sources instructed The Indian Express.

The committee, in its assembly on November 29, had summoned Facebook India officials to look earlier than it to debate what the whistleblower has shared, sources added.

According to the agenda, the IT panel will “hear the views of the representatives of Facebook India on the topic ‘Safeguarding residents’ rights and prevention of misuse of social/on-line information media platforms together with particular emphasis on girls safety within the digital house’,” and also will hear representatives of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on the identical.

Zhang, who appeared earlier than the British parliament final month, had expressed curiosity in showing earlier than the Indian parliamentary panel. Zhang claimed she labored to take away a “politically refined community of greater than a thousand actors working to influence” the Delhi Assembly elections in February 2020, and that the social media agency didn’t publicly disclose this community or that it had been taken down. Her revelation is a part of a 6,600-word memo obtained and reported by Buzzfeed, which alleges that Facebook “ignored” or was “gradual to behave on proof” that fake accounts on its platform have been “undermining elections and political affairs all over the world”.

Sources mentioned the IT panel can be more likely to invite Frances Haugen, a former Facebook knowledge scientist-turned-whistleblower, who had launched a sequence of paperwork that exposed that the merchandise of the social community big harmed mental health of teenage girls, and that it resisted adjustments that might make its platform much less divisive as a result of it “put its earnings earlier than folks”. Haugen had testified earlier than the US Senate Committee on the identical.

The IT panel had earlier summoned Facebook, in search of an evidence on a report in The Wall Street Journal, which revealed how the social media firm intentionally turned a blind eye in the direction of hate speeches by a BJP chief from Telangana, and didn’t take them down from its platform fearing it’d damage the agency’s enterprise pursuits in India, its largest market.

The BJP members within the IT panel had objected to the transfer. BJP MP Nishikant Dubey had written to the Speaker in search of elimination of Tharoor from the publish of chairman of the IT panel, accusing him of flouting guidelines. Dubey had alleged that the chairman had not mentioned the matter with the panel members.

However, Tharoor was re-appointed because the chairman when the panel was reconstituted in October.

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