The representatives of social media companies – Twitter and Facebook – appeared before parliamentary standing committee for Information and Technology (IT) in connection with “safeguarding citizens’ rights and prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms” here today.
The meeting was held to hear the views of the representatives of Facebook and Twitter on the subject “safeguarding citizens’ rights and prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms including special emphasis on women security in the digital space”.
Members of the panel especially BJP MPs raised the issue of blocking union home minister Amit Shah’s Twitter handle, in the panel meeting today.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor heads the parliamentary standing committee for IT.
The Twitter officials clarified that “it was a matter of copyright and the account was restored soon after”, a source present in the meeting said.
The panel members sought to know about how the new WhatsApp policy will affect the users of the said messaging platform in India.
The panel members said: “India’s privacy law should be implemented in this matter so that the concerns of the people of India can be addressed.”
According to sources, Facebook officials said to the panel that this policy is in force since 2016. “It is an old policy. Facebook is just being transparent about it.”
Opposition MPs also asked questions in the meeting on inflammatory speeches and social media posts.
Citing Donald Trump’s account being blocked, members asked whether the same policy applies in India as well.
“On this issue, some MPs said that in this case also the law of India should apply because in the case of inflammatory speech or post, the law extant in the country applies,” an opposition MP told to ANI on the condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, a WhatsApp spokesperson said in a statement, “We wish to thank the Honorable Parliamentary Committee for giving us an opportunity to appear before them and provide our views. We look forward to assisting the Honourable Committee in future as well.”