Facebook Row | BJP and Congress seek breach of privilege proceedings against each other

Published: August 20,2020 09:43 AM

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August 20, 2020: BJP MP Nishikant Dubey has sought breach of privilege proceedings against Congress leader Shashi Tharoor

August 20, 2020: BJP MP Nishikant Dubey has sought breach of privilege proceedings against Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who is the chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, over his remarks on social media to summon a panel meeting to discuss the alleged "misconduct" of Facebook.

Earlier, Tharoor also moved a breach of privilege petition before Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, accusing Dubey of making disparaging remarks on the issue.

As per reports, BJP members of the parliamentary standing committee on information technology have moved a privilege motion against its chairperson Shashi Tharoor, while the Congress has demanded a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into allegations made last week by a report in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Tharoor has also moved a privilege motion against the BJP’s Nishikant Dubey, a member of the panel.

The WSJ report said Facebook had decided against taking action on BJP leader T. Raja Singh for his alleged hate speech after the head of Facebook’s public policy in India, Ankhi Das, warned of the potential political fallout in New Delhi.

Tharoor declared he might consider summoning Facebook officials to the committee’s meetings, which prompted BJP leaders to claim that he was acting in a partisan manner.

“Have moved privilege motion against Rahul Gandhi and Shashi Tharoor because in Facebook row he accused BJP of wrongdoings. Accusing the BJP is like accusing all its MPs. Hence it’s a question of privilege because he questioned the intention, integrity, and honesty of MPs," tweeted Dubey, a member of Parliament (MP) from Godda constituency in Jharkhand.

Ahead of the monsoon session opposition parties are stepping up pressure demanding a scrutiny of the allegations made in the WSJ report. Both the Congress and the Communist Party of India Marxist (CPM) have demanded a JPC probe. Other Opposition parties have demanded that Facebook should respond to the charges being made.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi accused the ruling party of “controlling" Facebook and WhatsApp in India. “The truth about unemployment and destruction of the economy cannot be hidden from the country by peddling fake news and hatred on Facebook," Gandhi tweeted on Wednesday. In response to the controversy surrounding it, Facebook has maintained that it prohibits hate speech and content that incites violence without regard to anyone’s political position or party affiliation.