Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder, and the retail giant have been summoned by an Indian court in a case in which a former Indian worker asserts that he was wrongfully terminated after objecting to censorship and fake news on the firm’s apps.
Last month, India banned 59 Chinese apps, including Alibaba’s UC Browser, and UC News, citing security concerns after the two nations clashed on their border. It has since asked the affected companies to submit written answers on whether they censored content or acted in conformity to any foreign government.
According to court filings, Pushpandra Singh Parmar, the former employee of UC Web, alleges the Hangzhou firm used to censor content that could be unfavorable to China, and its apps UC Browser and UC News posted false news “to cause social and political turmoil.” Gurugram’s district court has summoned Alibaba’s Jack Ma and several officials, asking them to appear in court or have legal representation present on July 29. The judge has also asked the firm and its executives to submit written responses within a month, the court documents reveal. After the ban, UC Web has laid off some staff in India.
The court filings are 200 pages long and include numerous postings on the UC News app that Parmar alleges were false, one of which was headlined: “2,000-rupee notes to be banned from midnight today.” The lawsuit also includes a list of “sensitive words” like “India-China border” and “Sino-India war” that the filing alleges were used by the UC Web app to censor content in India.
When asked to comment about the ongoing matter, Alibaba representatives did not respond.