Facebook’s top executive in India summoned over failed hate speech rules

Facebook hate speech
Ajit Mohan, Vice President and Managing Director, Facebook India, leaves after an interview with Reuters in Mumbai, June 13, 2019. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – A panel of local lawmakers in New Delhi has summoned Facebook’s top executive in India to answer allegations that it did not properly apply hate speech rules and policies, which had contributed to riots that rocked the city in February.

The Delhi assembly committee, which is looking into the communal riots in Delhi that left at least 50 people dead, said in a statement on Saturday that it had asked Facebook India head Ajit Mohan to appear before it on Sept. 15.

Facebook India did not respond to a request for comment.

The world’s largest social network is under intense political scrutiny in India, its biggest market by users, after the Wall Street Journal reported in August that one of its employees had opposed applying hate speech rules to a politician from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party.

Facebook India has since said it is a non-partisan platform and has banned the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member involved for violating its policies, but both politicians and employees have questioned its content practices.

Despite comprehensive policies and regulations, the nine-member panel, which is mostly comprised of Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party lawmakers along with one from the BJP, said it had received multiple complaints against Facebook.

A parliamentary panel on information technology met with Facebook executives for more than two hours on Sept. 2 to discuss content regulation, after summoning them for talks.

(Reporting by Devjyot Ghoshal; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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