Twitter says can’t appear before panel, BJP warns of repercussions

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Last yr, Twitter got here below comparable hearth within the US, particularly involving “shadow-banning”. (Image supply: Reuters)

Citing “short notice”, Twitter has declined to ship its CEO or world executives to be current before the parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, which had summoned the social networking platform on February 11 to “examine” the problem of “safeguarding citizens’ rights on social/online news media platforms”.

The summons was over Twitter account-holders losing followers and accusations that the social networking website was suspending some handles, particularly these voicing right-wing views.

In a press release issued on Saturday, Twitter mentioned, “Given the short notice of the hearing, we informed the Committee that it would not be possible for senior officials from Twitter to travel from the United States to appear on Monday. Our CEO, Jack Dorsey, and other senior Twitter executives visited India in recent weeks because it is an important market for Twitter and we value the growing interest in Twitter in India.”

The assertion added that the corporate might ship representatives from Twitter India to appear before the panel “or to work with the Lok Sabha Secretariat to find more suitable dates so that a senior Twitter official can attend”.

“We want to reiterate that we not only have deep respect for India’s parliamentary process, we are also committed to serving the people who use Twitter in the Indian market,” it additional mentioned.

Sources mentioned the letter from the committee to Twitter on February 1 requested for “representatives of Twitter” to attend the parliamentary hearings. On February 7, the request was modified to “the CEO or at least the next senior most functionary in the hierarchy”.
Government sources referred to as Twitter’s response to the summons “cold”. “They don’t appear keen to participate in our proceedings,” confirmed a supply within the parliamentary panel, including that Twitter India officers “do not have enforcement authority”.

The supply mentioned Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s world lead for Legal, Policy, Trust & Safety, has written to the committee, saying, “No one who engages publicly for Twitter India makes enforcement decisions with respect to our rules for content or accounts in India.”

When requested about Twitter’s response, Anurag Thakur, chairman of the parliamentary panel, instructed The Sunday Express, “The committee has taken serious note of Twitter’s reply. We will discuss it and take further action on this in our meeting on Monday.”

BJP spokesperson and New Delhi MP Meenakshi Lekhi instructed reporters on Saturday, “In any country, no agency has the right to disrespect the institutions of that country. In this situation, if Twitter is disrespecting the established institution of Parliament, then there are repercussions… because in any democratic country, institutions need to be respected by world powers… Such things are not to be allowed in any country.”

Days before Thakur tweeted about his summoning of Twitter, round 20 folks had met him with a doc outlining alleged bias in opposition to right-wing voices on the platform, together with accusations that Twitter disproportionally suspends accounts espousing right-wing views in India.

On Friday, the corporate reiterated that it’s neutral and “does not take any action based on political views”.

Last yr, Twitter got here below comparable hearth within the US, particularly involving “shadow-banning”. The controversy culminated in a US Congressional listening to summoning Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who denied accusations that Twitter’s algorithms discriminate in opposition to Republican voices.

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