The Parliamentary Committee on IT has sent back the officials of Twitter India who had come to represent the company while answering the summons issued to it over allegations of bias on its platform and has summoned Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to appear before it on February 25, sources have confirmed to Republic TV.
The development comes just a few hours after Republic TV broke news that Twitter's Director, Policy, for India and South Asia, Mahima Kaul had been drafted for this purpose, despite Twitter informing the committee earlier that its India officials were essentially not adequately empowered to make "enforcement decisions with respect to our rules for content or accounts in India".
Sources had also added on Saturday that the relevant officials who had been called by the panel, including CEO Jack Dorsey, hadn't been able to travel to India in time despite being given a ten-day extension to the original summons. In a response issued to Republic TV's questionnaire, Twitter had said that it would seek mutually agreeable dates with the Lok Sabha Secretariat and had asked if Twitter India officials could attend in the interim.
Speaking to Republic TV on Saturday, BJP MP Anurag Thakur, who heads the Parliamentary Panel on IT, had expressed his displeasure at Twitter deciding to not sufficiently answer the summons by the panel. He left open the possibility that it could constitute a breach of parliamentary privilege and said that the appropriate course of action would be decided on Monday when the committee holds its next meeting.
On Friday, Twitter India issued a statement stating that it is committed to remaining unbiased:
"There has been a lot of discussion about Twitter and political partisanship in India in recent weeks and we would like to take a moment to set the record straight.
Twitter is a service where voices from across the spectrum can be seen and heard. We are committed to the principles of openness, transparency, and impartiality.
Whether it’s trends, the content that appears in your timeline, or how we enforce our policies, we believe in impartiality and do not make decisions on the basis of political views or beliefs.
We have a specialized, global team that enforces the Twitter Rules. Twitter India employees do not make enforcement decisions. This is by design to ensure fairness and impartiality.
India is the world’s largest democracy, and one of our largest and fastest-growing audience markets globally. We have never been more passionate about our mission to serve our Indian customers, and to protect and enhance the national conversation during this election season."