The unified, opposition INDIA alliance has written to Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai over their social media platforms’ alleged role in “aiding communal hatred” in the country. It has further demanded that the platforms maintain neutrality in the upcoming elections. The letters released on the social media platforms of various constituent political formations came after the Washington Post flagged alleged bias of Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube towards the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Narendra Modi government.
It was Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge shared the letter to Zuckerberg on X (formerly Twitter), saying, “Letter by INDIA parties to Facebook’s Mr. Mark Zuckerberg (@finkd) citing the exhaustive investigations by the Washington Post that Meta is culpable of abetting social disharmony and inciting communal hatred in India.
In this letter to Zuckerberg, the opposition parties have said that the India National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) is an alliance of 28 political parties in India that represent the combined opposition coalition and are the ruling alliance in 11 states and represent nearly half of all Indian voters. “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. 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 have even raised it several times in the past,” said the INDIA bloc parties. “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,” it said. “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 letter further said. “In light of the upcoming national elections in 2024, it is our earnest and urgent plea to you to consider these facts seriously and ensure immediately that Meta’s operations in India remain neutral and are not used wittingly or unwittingly to cause social unrest or distort India’s much cherished democratic ideals,” it said. The letter was signed by AICC general secretary organisation K.C. Venugopal.
The findings expose the role of Facebook and WhatsApp in aiding the communal hatred campaign of the ruling BJP. pic.twitter.com/6z2z8Bxzbq
— Congress (@INCIndia) October 12, 2023