In a dramatic escalation in relation to the allegations against Twitter for having a political bias in India, as per sources, the microblogging platform's CEO and top Twitter India officials have declined to appear before the Parliamentary Committee on IT, which had summoned them on February 11 over the issue of safeguarding citizens' rights on social media platforms.
The development comes a day after Twitter India issued a statement stating that the San Francisco-headquartered platform is committed to remaining unbiased and that its product, as well as policies, are never based on political ideology.
Twitter, which counts India among its biggest markets, asserted that the company "does not take any actions based upon political views or viewpoints", neither does it use political ideology to rank content on its service.
"There has been a lot of discussion about Twitter and political bias in India in recent weeks and the global real time communication platform today set the record straight... Twitter is a platform where voices from across the spectrum can be seen and heard. It is committed to the principles of openness, transparency, and impartiality," Twitter had said in its statement.
The Parliamentary Committee on Information Technology, headed by BJP MP Anurag Thakur, summoned Twitter India on February 11 to explain the allegations of bias that have been made against the social media platform. The Parliamentary Committee was to hear the views of representatives of the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology and Twitter on the subject of 'Safeguarding citizens' right on social media and online news platforms.
The summoning came days after the members of 'Youth for Social Media Democracy' staged a protest outside the office of Twitter India in Delhi. The protesters alleged that Twitter India was biased against right-wing groups.
Some of the protestors accused the microblogging website of spreading selective fake news. The protestors also claimed that the act of "selectively" authenticating Twitter handles of people with 'leftist propaganda' has often led to the spread of fake news around the digital platform.
The controversy also comes months after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey caused a storm by standing for a photo holding up a placard that read 'Smash Brahminical Patriarchy' during his visit to India.