Assembly Committee probing Delhi riots summons Facebook

Proceedings scheduled for Nov. 2 will be live-streamed

The Delhi Legislative Assembly’s Committee on Peace and Harmony has summoned Facebook in connection with its examination into the “unprecedented communal disharmony and violence in Delhi” during the riots in February 2020.

The Committee has called representatives of Facebook India to depose on “the important role of social media in curbing the spread of false, provocative and malicious messages which can fan violence and disharmony”.

The proceedings, scheduled for November 2, will be live-streamed to maintain “the utmost transparency” in the functioning of the Committee, the Assembly said.

So far, the Committee has examined crucial witnesses, including senior journalists, fact checkers, digital rights activists, and Facebook employees.

The Committee issued a notice for appearance to Facebook India Online Services Private Limited on October 27 to depose before it at 12.30 p.m. on November 2.

“The Committee is examining the unprecedented communal disharmony and violence in Delhi in February 2020, with a view to recommend suitable measures to defuse the situation and restore harmony among religious communities, linguistic communities, or social groups,” the Assembly said.

“Since Facebook has lakhs of users in Delhi, the Committee has decided to hear the views of the representatives of Facebook at its sitting scheduled for November 2,” the Assembly said.

According to the Assembly, the summons was issued in furtherance of the judgment of the Supreme Court in the ‘Ajit Mohan & Others v Legislative Assembly, NCT of Delhi’ case, dated July 8, 2021, where the court upheld the powers of the Committee to summon both members and non-members, including representatives of Facebook.

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