India on Wednesday warned social media platforms, particularly Facebook, of tough action if they collude with any political data firms like Cambridge Analytica to fraudulently influence the country’s electoral process.
The warning came after news reports said UK-based Cambridge Analytica has offered India’s Congress party a winning social media strategy for 2019 general elections.
Facebook is being investigated by the US privacy watchdog Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for breach of user confidentiality to help Cambridge Analytica. The British company allegedly took personal data from 50 million Facebook users without their consent to influence US presidential polls in favour of President Donald Trump.
IT and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad (pictured) said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg may be summoned to India if the company breaches user confidentiality to help data firms like Cambridge Analytica in influencing the electoral process.
A British parliamentary committee on Tuesday summoned Zuckerberg to explain how Cambridge Analytica used its data.
Turning from Zuckerberg to Congress, Prasad wanted to know whether Congress party depends on data manipulation and theft to woo voters, it endorses methods like sex, sleaze and fake news used by Cambridge Analytica, and the UK firm’s role in boosting Rahul Gandhi’s social media profile.
Rejecting the minister’s allegation, a Congress spokesman said it was the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its alliance partner Janata Dal (United) which had utilised the services of Cambridge Analytica during the 2010 Bihar assembly elections.