Bengaluru: A few days ago, US president Donald Trump signed an executive order, which takes away immunity granted to social media companies as they edited content put up by users. 

Also Read: Trump signs executive order

Since then, there has been a massive debate on the issue of freedom of speech and expression. 

Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar jumped into the debate and underlined the issue of glorification of a few tweets while suppressing a few others. 

Also Read: Rajeev Chandrasekhar bats for MSMEs

He said, “There is a serious problem with the way we are regulating social media platforms, especially Twitter because while under our Indian Constitution we are guaranteed freedom of speech and that freedom of speech can only be restricted under Article 19 (2) under specific circumstances, these social media platforms have created algorithms which can either amplify a message or conversation, or they can suppress it.” 

On the issue of accountability for writing such algorithms, he said, “While that in itself is not a problem but what is the algorithm, who has designed the algorithm, there is a need for algorithmic accountability.” 

It is also to be noted that many argue that software programmes have been in put in place to deal with such delicate issues. 

But the MP struck that theory down while underlying that it is a human being who designs such algorithms. If he is biased, the algorithms too can be biased. 

“It is not enough to say that ‘we are not doing it’, ‘there is an algorithm’ and an ‘algorithm is doing it’. It is also important to understand that the algorithm is designed by a human and if that person who designs the algorithm has biases then the algorithm will also have biases.” 

He also had this to say about Trump’s decision to bring social media companies under scrutiny. 

“To what extent Mr Trump has done it in the US is the consequence of this growing perception that some social media platforms have some ideological bias based on their founder’s, their CEO’s outlook towards life.”

The MP stressed that the algorithm can’t replace or supersede the Indian Constitution, relegating it. 

“The Constitution is supreme and no algorithm can supersede the Constitution,” he added. 

The MP was giving his opinions on the matter to ETV Bharat.