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Facebook Under Indian Parliamentary Panel; Citizen Rights, Women’s Safety Top Concerns
Facebook has been in the news lately for several reasons, the major one being its change of name and identity to Meta. Now, Facebook India officials have been asked to appear before the Parliamentary Standing Committee to discuss topics of citizen's rights and women's safety.
Social media safety and protection of data is one of the highly discussed topics. This is even truer when it comes to women's safety on social media and other online platforms. For the same, Facebook India officials have been asked to appear before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology (IT) today, November 29.
Facebook India To Appear Before Parliamentary Committee
Going into the details, Congress senior leader Shashi Tharoor will chair the parliamentary standing committee for the Information and Technology ministry. Additionally, the committee will also hear from Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology officials about the protection of citizens' rights.
The committee will also discuss the prevention of misuse of social media and other online news media platforms regarding citizen rights. The Parliamentary Committee agenda reads: "To hear the views of representatives Of Facebook India on the subject safeguarding citizens rights and prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms including special emphasis on women security in the digital space."
Facebook Influence In Delhi 2020 Assembly Elections To Be Discussed
Facebook has been in the limelight for several controversial debates and most of them have been related to civil rights, data mismanagement, privacy, and other regulatory concerns. The Indian Parliamentary Committee today will also be discussing submissions made by Facebook whistleblower Sophie Zhang.
Zhang had submitted several allegations against Facebook for its influence in the Delhi 2020 assembly elections. Zhang is an American data scientist who worked with the Facebook Site Integrity that overlooked fake engagement on the platform. The team was created to deal with bot accounts that were generally controlled by authoritarian bodies, including governments.
The whistleblower claims Facebook had a hand in influencing the Delhi assembly elections held in 2020. She claims the social media giant made a politically sophisticated attempt to influence the elections. The Parliamentary Committee will also be discussing the same with the Facebook India officials.
Indian Parliamentary Committee Recommendations
Concerns of social media safety of citizens have been on the rise. Governmental bodies and authorities all over the world have been setting up regulatory bodies for the same. In India, the Parliamentary panel recommended social media platforms set up a regulatory body to oversee activities of platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
The recommendations were part of the personal data protection bill introduced in 2019. The reviewed recommendations also aim to protect users' privacy and oversee control of companies like Google, Amazon, and others. The idea here was to monitor how these companies collect, process, and store data.
On the other hand, the Indian panel suggested looking at platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and other social media as publishers and having a regulatory body for the same. This would potentially open the companies to more liabilities for user-generated content, a Bloomberg report said.