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Parliamentary Panel To Summon Facebook, Whatsapp Besides Twitter


22 February 2019

OMMCOM NEWS


New Delhi: Besides Twitter, the Parliamentary Committee on Information Technology (IT) will also summon Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram to hear them on alleged bias towards certain type of posts, panel chief Anurag Thakur said on Friday.

"The Parliamentary Committee on IT will examine the issue of 'Safeguarding citizen rights on social/online news media platforms'," tweeted Thakur, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Lok Sabha MP from Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh.

"The following will present their positions: Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram," he added.

Twitter has already confirmed that Colin Crowell, its global Vice President of Public Policy, would face the Parliamentary Committee on IT on February 25.

Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram top brass may be summoned in the first week of March.

In a statement given to IANS, the micro-blogging platform said the 2019 Lok Sabha election is a key priority for Twitter.

"We thank the Parliamentary Committee for its invitation to hear Twitter's views on 'Safeguarding citizen rights on social/online news media platforms'," said a Twitter spokesperson.

"These are issues for all Internet services globally. Colin Crowell, global Vice President of Public Policy for Twitter, will meet with the Committee on Monday," the spokesperson added.

The government has accused Twitter of being "slow" in removing "objectionable content" and "political bias" from its platform.

The House panel had earlier summoned Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey over measures taken to ensure the safety and security of the users and allegations that the social media site was discriminating against "nationalist" posts on its platform.

In the absence of Dorsey, Crowell will represent Twitter during the 31-member parliamentary panel hearing.

In an earlier statement, Crowell said that India is one of its fastest-growing audience markets globally.

"We are committed to surfacing all sides of the conversation as we enter the election season in this extraordinarily diverse cultural, political and social climate," noted Crowell.

According to him, Twitter does not review, prioritise or enforce its policies on the basis of political ideology.

"Every tweet and every account is treated impartially. We apply our policies fairly and judiciously for all," Crowell added.

The Twitter hearing comes at a time when the Indian government has also formulated new IT guidelines where social media platforms have to remove within 24 hours any unlawful content that can affect the "sovereignty and integrity of India."

(IANS)