Opposition INDIA Bloc Urges Meta and Google CEOs to Ensure Neutrality Amid Allegations of Bias
Image credit: Twitter/@INCIndia
The opposition INDIA bloc, comprising 28 political parties in India, has reached out to Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, expressing concerns over the alleged role of their respective social media platforms in "aiding communal hatred" in the country. The INDIA bloc has demanded that both Meta and Google ensure the neutrality of their platforms in the upcoming elections.
The letters follow the Washington Post's recent exposé, highlighting the alleged bias of Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube towards the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Narendra Modi government. Mallikarjun Kharge, president of the Congress party, took to X (formerly Twitter) to share the letter to Zuckerberg, emphasising the exhaustive investigations conducted by the Washington Post.
The opposition parties stated in their letter to Zuckerberg: "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 letter cited details of how divisive propaganda is allegedly propagated through WhatsApp groups by BJP members and supporters.
Referring to another Washington Post article titled ‘Under India’s pressure, Facebook let propaganda and hate speech thrive,’ the INDIA bloc accused Facebook India executives of blatant partisanship towards the ruling dispensation. The letter alleged, "Such blatant partisanship and bias towards one political formation by a private foreign company is tantamount to interfering in India’s democracy."
The INDIA bloc has claimed to be in possession of data indicating algorithmic moderation and suppression of Opposition leaders’ content on Meta's platform while promoting ruling party content. They 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."
The letter, signed by AICC general secretary organisation K.C. Venugopal, concluded with the warning, "Any bias by a private foreign company in India’s democracy will not be taken lightly by the INDIA alliance, and it is imperative that democratic ideals are not distorted in the run-up to the elections."
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