Twitter India on Monday, insisting that CEO
Jack Dorsey would have to appear before it in 15 days, said people with knowledge of the matter. If he isn’t available, the panel has insisted on the presence of a “senior” member of Twitter’s global management team who is accountable for the company’s actions, they said.
The committee “unanimously” decided not to meet the Twitter India representatives, who had turned up to attend the discussion on Monday, said a member of the committee. “The committee decided that it would be a waste of time to discuss matters with representatives, who according to their (Twitter) own submission, do not have the mandate to frame policy matters or enforce them,” said another member.
Twitter declined to comment. The meeting of the committee, which wants to examine the issue of “safeguarding citizens’ rights on social media/online news platforms,” lasted for about an hour.
“The committee has insisted on meeting someone who can be held accountable for Twitter’s actions in India,” said a member. “The issue at hand is of pinning responsibility.”
The move by the House panel to summon Dorsey and the company saying it wouldn’t be possible for him to attend because of the short notice drew sharp comments on Twitter, some of which were derisive. A cabinet minister said the company’s attitude was “disrespectful.”
The government will not intervene in the matter until the parliamentary panel reaches a decision, top officials told ET.
MEITY TAKING UP ISSUE OF ‘FAKE’ HANDLES
“The parliamentary panel is a sovereign and independent body,” said a senior cabinet minister requesting anonymity.
However, he added: “It is most disrespectful for them (Twitter) to not appear before a parliamentary institution. If they can do the same in Singapore, US and other countries, why cannot they appear before a parliamentary institution in India.”
In a related development, officials of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology have recently been taking up the issue of “fake” handles with Twitter India, including one attributed to the Chief Justice of India. Twitter has informed the ministry that hundreds of thousands of bots had been eliminated by the social media giant acting promptly on complaints by individuals and institutions, said the officials cited above.
ET had reported on Monday that the parliamentary panel was exploring ways of expressing its annoyance, including declaring breach of privilege, at being unable to get Dorsey or his second-in-command to attend the hearing.
This may include sending a “strong” recommendation to the government seeking adverse action, ET reported.