Twitter will answer the summons issued to it by the Parliamentary Committee on IT by sending its Director, Policy for South Asia, Mahima Kaul, sources have confirmed to Republic TV, in light of the controversy over the microblogging platform earlier intimating that it would not be able to send the appropriate top-leadership representatives as stipulated by the Anurag Thakur-led panel.
Kaul, who tweets under the handle @misskaul, was appointed Twitter India's public policy head in 2015, and is based out of New Delhi, as per her Twitter profile.
(The above is a photo of Mahima Kaul inside the Parliament annexe outside the Parliamentary Committee's chambers)
On Saturday, Twitter had issued a statement confirming that it would be unable to send senior officials from its headquarters in the US in time to answer the summons by the Parliamentary committee to answer on allegations of bias on its platform. The San Francisco-based company had said that it had "suggested that we work with the Lok Sabha Secretariat to find mutually agreeable dates for this meeting so that a senior Twitter official can attend. We have also offered representatives from Twitter India to come and answer questions on Monday. We await feedback from the government on both of these matters."
Earlier on Saturday, sources confirmed to Republic TV that the Parliamentary Committee on IT received a letter from Twitter's Global head for legal, policy, trust and safety that said that "No one who engages publicly for Twitter India makes enforcement decisions with respect to our rules for content or accounts in India", essentially saying that its India staff weren't sufficiently empowered to answer on the matters that are being spoken of. Sources also added that the relevant officials, including CEO Jack Dorsey, wouldn't be able to attend despite given a ten-day extension, to the original summons.
That Twitter wouldn't answer the summons wasn't well received by Anurag Thakur, the BJP MP who heads it. Speaking to Republic, Thakur said that declining the summons could constitute a breach of parliamentary privilege, and also added that the appropriate course of action would be decided on Monday when the panel meets.
On Friday, Twitter India issued a statement stating that it is committed to remaining unbiased and that its product:
"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."