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I.N.D.I.A bloc writes to Facebook, Google CEOs, demands platforms' neutrality during 2024 Lok Sabha polls

I.N.D.I.A parties' letter: The letter was signed by 14 leaders including- Rahul Gandhi, Tejashwi Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav, D Raja and others. It said that it was ironical that the parties had to write the letter in the birth anniversary month of Mahatma gandhi.

Sheenu Sharma Edited By: Sheenu Sharma @20sheenu New Delhi Updated on: October 12, 2023 22:15 IST
INDIA bloc letter, Mark Zuckerberg, meta, sundar pichai, google ceo, facebook ceo, media report comm
Image Source : PTI (FILE) I.N.D.I.A bloc leaders in Mumbai

I.N.D.I.A parties' letter: On behalf of the opposition I.N.D.I.A bloc, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge today (October 12) shared a letter which was written to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai over their social media platforms' alleged role in aiding communal hatred in India and demanded that the platforms maintain neutrality in the upcoming polls.

The letter focuses on a media report stating that "Meta is culpable of abetting social disharmony and inciting communal hatred in India."

The letter was signed by around 14 leaders of I.N.D.I.A bloc including- Rahul Gandhi, Tejashwi Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav, D Raja, Sitaram Yechury, Mehbooba Mufti and others.

The two-page letter came after the Washington Post newspaper flagged alleged bias of Facebook, WhatsApp and YouTube towards the ruling BJP and the Narendra Modi dispensation. The opposition bloc demanded that Meta's operations in India remain neutral.

Sharing the letter to Zuckerberg on X, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said, "Letter by I.N.D.I.A 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."

"I.N.D.I.A parties also write to Google's Mr Sundar Pichai on exhaustive investigation by the Washington Post that Alphabet and specifically YouTube is culpable of abetting social disharmony and inciting communal hatred in India," he said in another post while sharing the letter to Pichai.

In the 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.

Article on Washington Post:

"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," the I.N.D.I.A bloc parties said.

"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," they said in the letter sent by AICC general secretary organisation KC Venugopal on Wednesday (October 11).

"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 stated.

They said that it was ironical that the parties had to write the letter in the birth anniversary month of Mahatma gandhi, the greatest champion of non-violence and social harmony in history.

The parties expressed confidence that Zuckerberg and Meta also yearn for a harmonious India that the Mahatma wished for.

Letter to Google CEO by I.N.D.I.A bloc:

In their letter to Google's Pichai, they said the recent expose by the Washington Post newspaper titled "He live-streamed his attacks on Indian Muslims. YouTube gave him an award" about the role of YouTube in propagating communal hatred and dividing Indian society.

"Specifically, the article cites details of how this vile, communally divisive propaganda is carried out using YouTube by BJP members and supporters.

"It is very clear from this exhaustive investigation by the Washington Post that Alphabet and specifically YouTube 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," they said.

The I.N.D.I.A parties also urged Google that its platforms operating in India remain neutral and are not used to cause social unrest or distort India's much cherished democratic ideals, especially during the upcoming elections.

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