Days after the Indian officials of the giant social media giant Twitter were questioned by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology on various issues, Facebook India and Google officials were summoned by the Committee on June 22 (Tuesday), to address the issue of the misuse of social media platforms.
The panel chaired by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor had asked the Facebook and Google officials to appear in-person on the issue.
It is pertinent to note here that when the Parliamentary Panel on Information Technology had questioned Twitter on June 19, Facebook too was supposed to be a part of that discussion. However, Facebook had then claimed that the company policy does not allow their officials to attend in-person meetings because of their Covid-related protocol. But Shashi Tharoor had instructed Facebook to appear before the panel regardless.
After Twitter, Facebook and Google questioned on prevention of misuse of social media platforms
In the meeting on Tuesday, while Facebook was represented by its country public policy director Shivnath Thukral and general counsel Namrata Singh, from Google its country head (government affairs and public policy) Aman Jain and director (legal) Gitanjali Duggal deposed before the panel.
Such as in the case of Twitter, the panel headed by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor questioned Facebook and Google officials on ‘Safeguarding citizens’ rights and prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms including special emphasis on women security in the digital space.
According to reports, the Parliamentary Committee on IT will also summon representatives of YouTube and other Social Media Intermediaries in the coming weeks over the issue.
Parliamentary Standing Committee on IT had found Twitter India’s response unsatisfactory
On June 19, OpIndia reported exclusively on the issues which the Parliamentary Standing Committee had brought up with Twitter. It had ranged from adherence to Indian laws, to child porn videos on Twitter, the algorithm it chooses to promote specific content and its biased approach that has penalised by several countries across the world.
The Parliamentary Committee also questioned Twitter about how they partner with fact-checkers, AltNews for example, who was caught spreading fake news in the Ghaziabad case. To this, Twitter said that they were not in their payrolls, however, they had “advisors” for fact-checking.
Twitter is meant to get back to the committee about what the parameters are to appoint such “advisors” and who these “advisors” actually are.
However, after Twitter officials had deposed before the Parliamentary Committee, sources revealed that the panel was unanimously unhappy with Twitter’s response as it is believed that the responses were scripted and did not satisfactorily explain Twitter’s biased stand and their insistence on not adhering to Indian laws.