FB Top Brass Deposes Before Parl Panel, Says ‘Sorry’ For Remarks On Pulwama Attack


Confronted with tough questions on the issue of propriety and use of abusing language often related to terror and India’s national security, top Facebook executive tendered apology to a Parliamentary panel even as some committee members insisted that the social network giant should give firm and clear responses in writing.

Joel Kaplan, VP – Global Public Policy, Facebook deposed before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on IT headed by BJP lawmaker Anurag Thakur and ‘tendered apology’ for some of the comments made by the company’s employees on terrorism especially on Pulwama terror attack.

Sources, however, said a few BJP members were unconvinced that Facebook and its employees are behaving neutrally.

The Facebook has been asked to respond in writing to a set of written questions from the 31-member committee which has BJP leaders L K Advani, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and Paresh Rawal and also members like Prasun Banerjee (Trinamool), Raj Babbar (Congress) and P Karunakaran (CPI-M).

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on IT had earlier grilled Twitter Public Policy head Colin Crowell on February 25.

The Committee asked Facebook to take necessary steps to prevent its platform from being misused during elections and proactively help national security agencies and also the Election Commission, sources said.

The social media giant reportedly gave a commitment to the Committee that the identify, location and who paid for advertisements will be available on a special web page for users.

Facebook admitted it somehow – always “does not get it right” regarding content moderation, sources said.

Nevertheless, some members of the Committee felt Facebook was still reluctant to be transparent.

Mr Anurag Thakur and a few others questioned the Facebook official for some insensitive tweets and public comments by the social network company’s employees.

“Facebook was forthcoming in trying to address the important concerns we raised. They thanked the Committee for the opportunity to express their views,” Mr Thakur later said.

Facebook executive Mr Kaplan expressed ‘gratefulness’ to the parliament panel for being given the opportunity to share with Indian authorities the way Facebook is preparing for the elections in India.