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Facebook officials agreed to ensure that their platforms aren't used to create division in society: Parliamentary panel

File photo: Parliament of India. Photograph:( ANI )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 06, 2019, 03.34 PM (IST)

Anurag Thakur, chairman of Parliamentary IT Committee, briefed the media after concluding the meeting with officials of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram on Wednesday. Thakur informed that the officials of social media platforms "accepted there is a need for corrective measures and that they're ready for them," news agency ANI reported. 

"They have said they will be in touch with the Election Commission and work on the information provided by the concerned ministries," Thakur noted, adding that the Parliamentary Committee has asked the officials to ensure the respective platforms are not used to "create division in society or incite violence." 

"We asked them to ensure their platforms aren't used to create division in society, incite violence, pose threat to India's security or let foreign powers meddle in Indian elections," Thakur told reporters in New Delhi. 

A parliamentary panel Wednesday expressed concern over social media giant Facebook's ability to prevent misuse of its platform during elections in India, news agency PTI reported.

The 31-member panel had met to hear the views of the representatives of Facebook and its affiliates WhatsApp and Instagram on 'safeguarding citizens rights on social/online news media platforms'. 

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A senior official of Facebook appeared before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology headed by BJP MP Anurag Thakur and responded to concerns raised by the lawmakers over the possible misuse of social media to influence elections, PTI reported. 

Facebook has given a commitment to the panel that identity, location and who paid for advertisements during elections will be available on a special web page for users, sources said.

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According to reports, Facebook told the committee members that it was a "hybrid company" and failed to clearly answer which regulatory framework apply to their content, advertising and marketing operations in India.

The US-based company also admitted it doesn't "always get it right" regarding content moderation on its platform, PTI reported. 

One of the sources said that the sense of committee members was that "despite all the apologies for past mistakes that Facebook has made, it still seems unwilling to be properly scrutinised and transparent."

(With inputs from agencies) 

Story highlights

The 31-member Parliamentary panel had met to hear the views of the representatives of Facebook and its affiliates WhatsApp and Instagram on 'safeguarding citizens rights on social/online news media platforms'.