Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will not appear before parliamentary panel
Despite the Indian government summoning Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to appear before the Parliamentary Committee on IT on February 25, Twitter has said that Dorsey will not attend the hearing. Instead, the micro-blogging site will dispatch Colin Crowell, Twitter's Global Vice President of Public Policy to attend the hearing on 'safeguarding citizen rights on social/online news media platforms'. Here are the details.
Earlier, the government had explicitly asked Dorsey to attend
Earlier, Twitter India representatives, including Director of Policy Mahima Kaul, had met with the committee on February 11. However, despite the meeting, the committee took a unanimous decision to not negotiate with Twitter till Dorsey himself or a senior member of Twitter's global team with "decision making authority regarding Twitter's operations in India" met with it.
Twitter will have to answer to accusations of political bias
Now that Crowell is slated to attend the hearing in front of the 31-member panel on Monday, he will have to answer to the government's accusations of Twitter being "slow" in removing "objectionable content" and "political bias" from its platform. The panel will be headed by BJP MP Anurag Thakur. However, Crowell has claimed that Twitter is not politically biased.
Crowell's statement ahead of the hearing
"We are committed to surfacing all sides of the conversation as we enter the election season in this extraordinarily diverse cultural, political and social climate. Every Tweet and every account is treated impartially. We apply our policies fairly and judiciously for all," said Crowell.
India is stepping up vigilance against social media platforms
The development comes on the back of right-wing users in India alleging that Twitter has an anti-right bias. It also comes on the back of formulation of new IT guidelines that require social media platforms to remove within 24 hours unlawful content that can affect the "sovereignty and integrity of India". Further, the government has also warned of strict action if social media platforms are found interfering in the upcoming elections.
Twitter is also facing scrutiny around the world
Yet, India isn't the only one concerned about Twitter's conduct. Globally, the micro-blogging site has been facing increasing scrutiny over its conduct, and the Parliamentary Committee hearing in India is the fourth such hearing where Twitter has been summoned. The social media giant had earlier faced similar hearings in Singapore, the European Union, and back home in the United States.