Saturday 31 July 2021
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Parliamentary panel to Twitter: Law of land, not your policy, supreme

Twitter India's public policy manager Shagufta Kamran and legal counsel Ayushi Kapoor deposed before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology on 18 June

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology today summoned Twitter officials and emphasised that the laws followed in the country are supreme and the social media platform needs to abide by them.

“The law of the land is supreme and not your policy,” the parliamentary panel told representatives of Twitter present at the .

The members of the parliamentary panel asked Twitter why it should not be fined for violating the law of the land.

“How are you placed in Twitter India and how much executive authority you have in terms of taking important policy decisions,” the parliamentary panel members asked the company to submit these in writing.

The parliamentary panel had asked Twitter officials to appear before the panel and give a presentation on the of misuse of the social media platform.

The committee, headed by INC MP Shashi Tharoor, has summoned several social media giants, including Facebook and Twitter, on issues related to misuse of the platforms and protection of citizens’ rights.

Twitter India’s public policy manager Shagufta Kamran and legal counsel Ayushi Kapoor deposed before the parliamentary panel today.

According to a notice of the standing committee meeting on June 18, its agenda is to “hear the views of representatives of Twitter followed by evidence of representatives of electronics technology on safeguarding citizens’ rights and prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms, including special emphasis on women’s security in the digital space”.

A senior member said there were numerous violations on Twitter as of women had been reported several times. While the union government has withdrawn Twitter’s ‘intermediary’ status and has brought it under the purview of Indian laws, the micro-blogging site and the union government have been at loggerheads on several issues for the past few months.

Twitter has received backlash from the union government on earlier occasions we well for not complying with the new digital media norms.

A day ago, IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has slammed the microblogging site for failing to comply with the new IT rules and said that it deliberately chose the path of non-compliance despite getting multiple opportunities.

Twitter has lost the coveted “safe harbour” immunity in India over its failure to appoint statutory officers on the company’s role in line with the new IT rules, and its top executives, including the country managing director, could now face police questioning and criminal liability under IPC over ‘unlawful’ and ‘inflammatory’ content posted on the platform by any user.

With this, Twitter becomes the only American platform to have lost the protective shield granted under Section 79 of the IT Act, even though others such as , YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram remain protected, official sources said.

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