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Facebook skips Delhi Assembly panel hearing; says already appeared before parliamentary panel

The panel said it would deliver ‘a final warning’ to the social networking giant over the no-show.

SNS | New Delhi |

Facebook executives who were summoned in Delhi Assembly skipped the hearing of Assembly’ “Peace and Harmony” committee contending that they have already appeared before a parliamentary panel.

The panel said it would deliver “a final warning” to the social networking giant over the no-show.

Facebook officials’ written response arrived in the middle of the committee’s hearing at the Delhi assembly.

The fresh summons would be issued to Facebook executives in line with principles of natural justice. If they did not comply with the fresh summons, said members. They “should be forced to appear through coercive actions”, they added.

Facebook has asked the Delhi Assembly panel to withdraw the summons stating that Parliament is seized of the matter.

On the move, the Delhi Assembly Committee on Peace and Harmony called it as an erroneous reading. It asserted that the committee is well within its rights to summon Facebook executives.

The controversy aroused after the WSJ reported that Facebook refused to apply hate speech rules to certain BJP politicians, while the social media giant has asserted that its policies are enforced globally without regard to political affiliation.

The Congress had written a letter mentioning the article of TIME magazine by saying, “The ‘Time’ Magazine’s story raises two very important alarms. It tell us that the partnership and the bias of Facebook India’s leadership is not limited to just one person, but, it is much more wide spread and rampant within Facebook India’s team. Number two, in return for some Government approvals, licenses and permissions for its business operations, such as WhatsApp Pay.”

The letter also alleged foul-play by another employee of the social media giant apart from Ankhi Das, Facebook executive in India, who was at the centre of the crisis.