Alibaba and its founder Jack Ma has been summoned by Gurgaon court in India. They are summoned after an ex-Indian employee alleged that he was wrongfully fired after objecting to what he saw as censorship and fake news on company apps, documents seen by Reuters showed.
Earlier, India banned Alibaba UC’s News, UC Browser along with other 57 Chinese applications due to the ongoing border tension with China.
An ex-employee of Alibaba’s UC Web, Pushpendra Singh Parmar accused the company of using to censor content seen as unfriendly to China and its apps UC Browser and UC News showcased false news “to cause social and political turmoil”.
UC India said in a statement it had been “unwavering in its commitment to the Indian market and the welfare of its local employees, and its policies are in compliance with local laws. We are unable to comment on ongoing litigation”.
However, representatives of Alibaba had not responded to requests for comment from the Chinese company or comment on behalf of Jack Ma.
Before the banning of apps, at least 689 million times UC Browser was downloaded on India. Moreover, UC News has 79.8 million downloads.
India already said that they are banning these apps as they pose a threat to India’s sovereignty.
In court filings, reviewed by Reuters, Parmar attached clippings of some posts posted on the UC News app which Parmar alleged were incorrect.
A 2017 post had a headline “2,000-rupee notes to be banned from midnight today”. Another post of 2018 had the headline “Just now: War broke out between India and Pakistan”.
However, Reuters could not verify independently the authenticity of the claims. No war occurred between India and Pakistan in 2018 and there was no banning of 2,000 rupee currency notes in India.
There were also sensitive words list in the lawsuit. These sensitive words list had key words in Hindi and English such as “India-China border” and “Sino-India war” that the court filing alleges were used by UC Web to censor content on its platforms in India.