It looks like there's fresh trouble brewing for Facebook. This time, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology has summoned Facebook representatives. A hearing will be held on September 2, where the Lok Sabha secretariat will hear the views on the prevention of misuse of social media platforms, starting with Facebook.
The Committee is headed by senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor and has also summoned representatives of the Ministry of Electronics and Information over the same issue. Plus, the agenda will also hear oral evidence from the Ministry's representative on the issue of safeguarding citizens' rights and prevention of misuse of social and online news media platforms. The Committee is also emphasizing on women security in the digital space.
Facebook is having a difficult time recently over hate speech and political bias. The new controversy began when the Wall Street Journal reported Facebook's alleged failure to apply hate speech rules to posts by a BJP leader from Telangana and three other party leaders. The BJP and Congress have since had a rhetorical battle over social media conduct and ethics.
To recall, the Indian government authorities setup an Oversight Board to deal with such challenges, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal. It's now reported that the Oversight Board will once again look into Facebook's hate speech and political bias controversy once again.
The scheduled hearing on September 2 will likely raise the controversy once again. However, there is also a stiff debate on whether a Facebook representative can be called to the Parliament without the complete consultation of the Committee. "The agenda of any sitting of the Parliamentary Committee is decided after due deliberations and consultation with all the members," said BJP MP Nishikant Dubey.
Facebook has had steady progress with the Indian audience, especially after it struck a deal with Reliance Jio, and bought a stake in the platform. However, the social media platform is in controversial limelight once again. Irrespective of what happens in the hearing, Facebook has certainly gotten itself into trouble once again, with massive backlash from the public.