Parl panel asks Twitter to engage more with EC

Panel summons Facebook, WhatsApp officials on Mar 6

Anurag Thakur, chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology. (PTI File Photo)

A Parliamentary panel on Monday asked micro-blogging website Twitter to ensure "real time" compliance of issues flagged to it ahead of Lok Sabha elections and engage more with the Election Commission to address the concerns.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology headed by BJP MP Anurag Thakur also called other social media platforms Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram to appear before it on March 6.

While Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey did not attend the meeting of the panel, the micro-blogging site was represented by its Global Vice President of Public Policy Colin Crowell.

Sources said Thakur read out the letter written by Doresy about his inability to attend the meeting and allowed Crowell to represent Twitter in the meeting.

After the three-and-half-hour long meeting, Thakur said he has asked Twitter to ensure that Indian elections are not undermined and influenced by foreign entities.

Thakur said Twitter officials were asked to "engage more" with the ECI and address issues on a "real-time" basis. The Twitter officials were told that there should not be any "international interference" in the general elections.

Sources said the issue of influencing was mentioned keeping in mind allegations of interference by social media platforms in the US Presidential elections.

The panel also asked Twitter to reply to a set of questions which remained unanswered in writing in 10 days time. Thakur said Twitter officials have replied to most questions.

The committee is conducting hearing on 'safeguarding citizens rights on social/online news media platforms' and has also summoned public policy heads of Facebook, WhatsApp and Platform.

The Thakur-led panel had earlier asked Dorsey to appear before it on February 11. However, Twitter had cited "short notice of the hearing" for its CEO not being able to attend the meeting and sent its officials for the meeting.

However, the panel was not willing to meet "junior officials" and set February 25 as the next date of hearing when Dorsey was summoned. Twitter later informed the panel that Dorsey would not be able to come to India on this day and deputed one of the senior officials for the meeting.

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Parl panel asks Twitter to engage more with EC

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