India: Twitter CEO summoned by IT parliamentary panel

Author: Smriti Kak Ramachandran, Hindustan Times, India, Published on: 11 February 2019

"Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey summoned by parliamentary panel on Feb 25, panel refuses to hear other officials", 11 February 2019

A parliamentary panel [on information and technology] has summoned the chief executive officer (CEO) of Twitter, Jack Dorsey to appear before it on February 25, after declining to meet representatives from India who appeared before the panel in his stead. HT learns that the panel may also be considering summoning executives from other large social media platforms including Facebook.

[The panel] said it wouldn’t listen to representatives from the company who do not have the authority for decision making. At its meeting, the panel expressed concern over how algorithms are channelised in India, and has also sought to know the details about the funding of advertisements that appear on the platform said a person familiar with the discussions. According to a second person familiar with the discussions, members of the panel said there needs to be a clarification on the nature of the medium; whether it is a technology-driven platform or a content controlling platform.

Members of the panel also expressed “dissatisfaction” over how Twitter responded to the summons...Twitter declined comment on not being allowed to attend the meeting on Monday, but last week denied allegations of a bias against certain handles, the main reason the company’s CEO was summoned before the panel...It also suggested finding “mutually agreeable dates for this meeting” so that a senior Twitter official can attend. Earlier this month, it also announced it would provide a new dashboard showing expenses on political advertisements by parties on its platform...

The panel was approached by a right-wing group Youth for Social Media Democracy, which alleged that the platform was arbitrarily shadow-banning and suspending accounts of those who are sympathetic to the ruling BJP...

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