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Privilege Motion vs Privilege Motion: Congress, BJP spar over Facebook issue


New Delhi, Aug 19: Hours after Congress leader Shashi Tharoor moved a notice for breach of privilege against BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, the lawmaker from the ruling party returned the favour.

 Shashi Tharoor

A Twitter duel had erupted between BJP MP Nishikant Dubey and Opposition MPs Tharoor and Mahua Moitra (TMC) over the prospect of the panel seeking views of Facebook on a Wall Street Journal report.

Tharoor alleged that Dubey made "disparaging remarks" on social media over his decision to summon a panel meeting to discuss alleged "misconduct" of Facebook.

FIR against Facebook policy head Ankhi Das, 2 others over posts

In his letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Tharoor took strong objection to Dubey's remarks on Twitter that "the Chairman of Standing Committee does not have the authority to do anything without discussion of the agenda with its members".

Tharoor said Dubey accused him of championing his political party's "agenda without authorisation by the Committee and Speaker".

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    Dubey's remarks came after Tharoor had said on Sunday that the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology would like to hear from Facebook about a media report on its conduct and what it proposes to do about hate-speech in India.

    In the notice, Dubey alleged that Tharoor had sent the notice to Facebook without following rules and had "surpassed all limits of decency, ethics and basic tenets of Parliamentary procedures and practices".

    The BJP MP has sent the notice to Speaker Om Birla, requesting him to initiate a privilege motion against the Congress leader.

    In the report published on Friday, US newspaper Wall Street Journal cited interviews with unnamed Facebook insiders to claim that one of its senior India policy executives intervened in internal communication to stop a permanent ban on a BJP MLA from Telangana after he allegedly made communally charged posts.

    Reacting to the controversy, Facebook on Monday said the company's social media platform prohibits hate speech and content that incites violence, adding these policies are enforced globally without regard to political affiliation.

    "While we know there is more to do, we're making progress on enforcement and conduct regular audits of our process to ensure fairness and accuracy," a Facebook spokesperson said.

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