Alibaba’s Jack Ma summoned by Indian Court

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
  • Follow author on
Alibaba Co-Founder Jack Ma
Alibaba Group co-founder Jack Ma or Ma Yun is a Chinese business magnate, investor and philanthropist.

About a month after the Indian government banned 59 Chinese applications including TikTok, UC Browser, Club Factory, WeChat and Shareit, Alibaba and its founder Jack Ma were summoned by an Indian district court.

[expander_maker id=”1″]

According to reports, Pushpandra Singh Parmar — a former employee at UC Web (owned by Alibaba) in a more than 200-page court filing charged that the organization had unfairly terminated his job after he objected to what he saw as fake news and web censorship.

Parmar said the company used to censor material that appeared ‘unfavorable’ to China. He also accused its now banned apps – UC Browser and UC News apps of showing news that had the potential “to cause social and political disruption.”

Following the lawsuit, the judge of the court has summoned Alibaba, Jack Ma, and about 12 individuals or units of the organization to appear in court or through a lawyer on July 29.

The judge also ordered the company and its executives to send written responses within 30 days. UC India responded to the reports through its company statement that “its contribution to the Indian market and the welfare of its local employees has been unwavering and its policies are in line with local law. However, they refused to comment on the pending litigation.

The former employee is claiming $268,000 in damage. He worked with UC Web in Gurugram as Associate Director until October 2017.

Mr. Parmar has also included clippings of a few posts on UC News, which he says are fake. For example, one post from 2017 reads “2,000-rupee notes to be banned from midnight today.” “’Just now: war broke out between India and Pakistan” was the headline of another post from 2018 which included a summary of firing across the two nations’ disputed border.

India has not withdrawn its 2,000-rupee currency note and in 2018, India and Pakistan have not fought any battle.

The lawsuit also provides a “sensitive word list” with keywords in Hindi and English such as “India-China border” and “Sino-India war” that UC Web used to censor content on its Indian platforms, according to the court filing.

The filing said that an audit system was deployed that automatically/manually rejected any content that was against China.

The court case is Alibaba’s new challenge in India after an app ban from the Indian government, following which UC Web has begun laying off some employees in India.
The UC Browser had been downloaded at least 689 million times in India prior to the banning of the apps, while UC News had 79.8 million downloads, most data from the analytics company Sensor Tower showed between 2017 and 2018.

India claimed that its decision to ban apps was based on ‘credible input’ and said that these apps posed a threat to India ‘s sovereignty. The IT minister said the decision had been taken to safeguard the data and public order of people.