Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday told Mark Zuckerberg that it is problematic when Facebook employees on record abuse Prime Minister Narendra Modi while still working and managing important positions in Facebook India. It is doubly problematic when the bias of individuals becomes an inherent bias of the platform.
In a letter to Zuckerberg, Prasad wrote, “It is problematic when Facebook employees are on record abusing the Prime Minister and senior Cabinet Ministers of India while still working in Facebook India and managing important positions. It is doubly problematic when the bias of individuals becomes an Inherent bias of the platform.”
He also wrote, “I am writing this letter to raise serious concerns, some of which we have also raised in the past with senior officials of Facebook. I have often heard you and your senior management talk about the general benefits of connectivity, and more specifically in the context of your products, to the global commu-nity.”
“Facebook’s stated mission is to give people the power to build communities and bring the world closer. The global scale achieved by the products of the Facebook group make it one of the prime movers in this goal of achieving connected communities across the world. However, what we have seen in the last few months goes contrary to achieving the stated goals of Facebook,” he also said.
“I have been informed that in the run up to 2019 General Elections in India, there was a concerted effort by Facebook India management to not just delete pages or sub-stantially reduce their reach but also offer no recourse or right of appeal to affected people who are supportive of the right-of-centre ideology. I am also aware that dozens of emails written to Facebook management received no response,” he added.
“The above documented cases of bias and inaction are seemingly a direct outcome of the dominant political beliefs of indi-viduals in your Facebook India team. As a transnational digital platform, Facebook must not only be fair and neutral, but also visibly seen to be so, to users of diverse beliefs and ideologies. Individuals working in any organization may have their individual likes or dislikes, but that must not have any bearing on the public policies and performance of the organization,” he further said.