Journo Tiwari to Testify Against FB’s Das for ‘Inciting Animosity’

Delhi committee is looking into Facebook’s “alleged intentional inaction to contain hateful content in India.”

Published
India
2 min read
On 17 August, Facebook’s public policy director for India Ankhi Das filed a complaint with Delhi Police alleging threats to her life and harassment.
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Chattisgarh-based journalist Avesh Tiwari has been asked to testify before the Delhi Assembly Committee on Monday, in connection with the complaint filed against Facebook’s public policy director in India, Ankhi Das.

The committee on “Peace and Harmony” under the Chairmanship of MLA Raghav Chadha is looking into Facebook’s “alleged deliberate and intentional inaction to contain certain hateful content in India.”

Following a complaint from Tiwari, the state bureau chief of the news channel Swaraj Express, the Raipur Police registered an FIR against Das on a slew of charges under the Indian Penal Code, including outraging religious feelings and incitement to violence, late on 17 August.

He had alleged that Das had “pressured her employees to not take down several hate speech posts prior to the Lok Sabha elections.” This was done “to make political gains in the Indian market.”

A letter from the committee stated that they have taken cognizance of the allegations made after carefully vetting the complaints.

“Pertinently, you have thrown light to another perspective of the alleged insincerity of the Facebook and thus your inputs are extremely significant in enabling the committee to dissect the multiple layers of the issue in question (sic),” the letter read.

The FIR and police complaint came three days after a news report by the Wall Street Journal that mentioned Das had blocked Facebook from applying hate speech restrictions against several BJP leaders including T Raja Singh, Anantkumar Hegde, and Kapil Mishra.

The committee stated that “Facebook, despite its comprehensive policies and regulations on curbing unabated dissemination of hateful and offensive content, in place, has been turning a blind eye to mass manufacturing and propagation of vile, hateful communal content which are not only bad in taste but allegedly have potential to erupt violence and riot like situation (sic).”

Das had also filed a complaint with the Delhi Police alleging that she was getting death threats and facing online harassment. She had named Awesh Tiwari and said he had threatened her on Facebook on 16 August. He has denied the allegations.

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