Parliamentary Panel Doubts Facebook’s Ability to Prevent Misuse of its Platform

Members of the panel were not convinced that Facebook and its employees are behaving neutrally

Facebook, photos
This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

A parliamentary panel on Wednesday raised grave concerns regarding Facebook’s ability to prevent misuse of its platform during the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and to proactively help the security agencies.

Sources said Facebook informed the parliamentary committee that it is a “hybrid company” and failed to clearly answer which regulatory framework applies to their content, advertising and marketing operations in India.

The social media company admitted it doesn’t “always get it right” regarding content moderation on its platform, they said.

Facebook Vice President (Global Public Policy) Joel Kaplan appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Information Technology to explain what the social media giant and its subsidiaries — WhatsApp and Instagram — were doing to safeguard citizens’ rights across platforms.

“We are grateful to the honorable Parliamentary Committee for giving us the opportunity to show how we are preparing for the Indian elections and helping keep people safe,” he said in a statement.

Facebook
Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

The sources here also said that the committee members felt that despite all the apologies for past mistakes that Facebook has made, the social media platform still seems unwilling to be properly scrutinised and transparent.

Questions regarding insensitive tweets and public comments by Facebook employees were asked by the Parliamentary Standing Committee Chairman Anurag Thakur.

According to the sources, Kaplan apologised to the committee for remarks made by Facebook employees on terrorism and the Pulwama attacks.

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“This is the right question for policy makers and companies to be grappling with right now. We are eager to engage on the right regulatory framework, we don’t have all the answers,” he told the panel.

Members of the panel were not convinced that Facebook and its employees are behaving neutrally, the sources added. (IANS)