Last week, a Delhi Assembly panel on peace and harmony had summoned Ajit Mohan, managing director of Facebook India, to determine if the social networking site deliberately ignored instances of hate speech on its social media platform.
The panel — headed by lawmaker Raghav Chadha with the Aam Aadmi Party governing the Indian capital — also said the firm should be probed over its “alleged role and complicity” in the sectarian Delhi riots in February which killed over 50 people, most of them minority Muslims. But on Tuesday Mohan failed to appear, Chadha said.
“The failure of Facebook to appear before the committee shows that it is trying to hide its role in the Delhi riots,” Chadha told reporters. “Fresh summons will be issued to it in line with principles of natural justice.”
Delhi Assembly's 'Peace and Harmony' committee led by @raghav_chadha has summoned Facebook India Vice President Ajit Mohan over complaints alleging deliberate inaction by the social media platform to apply hate speech rules ahead of Delhi riots. pic.twitter.com/STGs1IacTj
— Gulam Jeelani (@jeelanikash) September 12, 2020
A lawyer for Facebook said the summons was “untenable” as the matter was being heard separately by a parliamentary committee, a Delhi government source told AFP. Facebook India was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday.
Earlier this month, the 18-member parliamentary committee had “grilled” Facebook representatives over the platform’s alleged political bias, local media reported.
The firm has been embroiled in a huge row in India after the Wall Street Journal reported in August that the company failed to take down anti-Muslim comments by a politician from the ruling party in order to protect its business interests. Facebook has denied any political bias but admitted it has to do better to curb hate speeches.
AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk