The Parliamentary Standing Committee on IT has summoned senior officials from Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp as well as four other social media platform representatives on March 6, 2019 in Parliament on the issue of "Safeguarding citizens' rights on social/online news media platforms, said sources.
On Monday, the Vice President of Public Policy, Colin Crowell, appeared before the parliamentary panel on Information Technology after it was summoned to appear over allegations of bias on its platform.
Sources also said that Parliamentary Committee on Information Technology head Anurag Thakur has warned Twitter to ensure that Indian elections are not undermined and influenced by foreign entities. He stressed that they must work in real time with Election Commission to address issues.
Thakur read out a personal letter addressed to him by Twitter's Jack Dorsey and allowed Colin Crowell, Vice President & Global Policy Head to appear on Monday.
The Parliamentary panel also asked the Twitter VP under which act was it registered in India, whether it was registered as a media company or as in any other form. Twitter was not able to answer the question.
The panel also told the company that groups who are against India and terrorists groups which use the platform must be reigned in from doing so. It also told Twitter that it must not allow groups who are against India to use the social media app and website.
Crowell appeared before the panel on IT on February 25 after CEO Jack Dorsey cited 'short-notice' to explain his unavailability for the hearing. The 31-member committee conducting the session will discuss the “safeguarding of citizen’s rights on social/online news media platforms”.
This comes after the Parliamentary panel on Information Technology had summoned Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to appear before it on February 25, and had refused to meet "junior officials" of the micro-blogging site during its meeting on February 11.
The meeting had been called against the backdrop of growing concerns about safeguarding citizens' data privacy and the possibility of social media platforms being used to interfere in the upcoming elections.