NEW DELHI: Facebook’s public policy head (India, South and Central Asia) Ankhi Das appeared before the panel on the issue of data security on Friday. Sources said that the Facebook India representatives were asked some tough and searching questions by the panel members.
During the meeting, a member suggested that the social media giant should not draw inferences from the data of its users for commercial benefits of its advertisers.
The panel has summoned officials of micro-blogging site Twitter on October 28, and Google and Paytm on October 29.
A report in the Wall Street Journal newspaper claimed that Facebook policy head Das, who has been in the middle of a political storm for allegedly “favouring” the ruling dispensation, had also “disparaged” the BJP’s main rival, Congress. “It’s taken thirty years of grassroots work to rid India of state socialism finally,” she wrote on the party’s defeat.
Just a day before the BJP swept to victory in the 2014 general elections, Das, sent out an internal message to the company’s employees writing, “We lit a fire to his social media campaign and the rest is of course history.” Facebook, however, said that the posts were taken “out of context”.
The WSJ examined messages posted in an internal group between 2012 and 2014. In one of them, she praised the PM as the “strongman” who had broken the former ruling party’s hold.
Facebook said the posts by Das don’t show inappropriate bias. “These posts are taken out of context and don’t represent the full scope of Facebook’s efforts to support the use of our platform by parties across the Indian political spectrum,” Facebook spokesman Andy Stone told WSJ.
Meanwhile, e-commerce giant Amazon has refused to appear before the joint committee of Parliament on the Data Protection Bill on October 28 and this amounts to breach of privilege, panel chairperson and BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi said.
(With PTI inputs)