Weeks before 2019 polls, Parliamentary panel asks Twitter to engage more with Election Commission

Last month, tech giant Google had also committed to making information on political advertisements on its platform public by furnishing details like who is purchasing election ads and the money spent.

Weeks before 2019 polls, Parliamentary panel asks Twitter to engage more with Election Commission
CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on September 5, 2018. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP)
By: ABP News Bureau
Updated: 01 Mar 2019 03:26 PM
New Delhi: Ahead of 2019 general polls, a parliamentary panel on Monday asked micro-blogging site Twitter to address issues in real-time and engage more with the Election Commission of India (ECI).

The panel also summoned senior officials of other social media platforms Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram on March 6.


The panel is examining the growing concerns of safeguarding citizens rights on social and online news media platforms.

This was informed by Anurag Thakur, chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, after a nearly three-and-a-half-hour meeting with Global Vice President of Public Policy for Twitter Colin Crowell and other officials of the micro-blogging platform.

Thakur said Twitter officials were asked to "engage more" with the ECI and address issues on a "real-time" basis.

The Twitter officials were told that there should not be any "international interference" in the Lok Sabha polls.

Sources said the social media platform was categorically asked to ensure the forthcoming elections are not undermined and influenced by foreign entities.

This message to the micro-blogging site was in an apparent reference to multitude of complaints of interference by social media platforms in the US elections, they said.

Thakur said Twitter officials replied to most questions and would submit replies to remaining queries in writing in 10 days.



The panel, which hear the views of the representatives of Twitter on 'safeguarding citizens rights on social/online news media platforms', has also summoned public policy heads of Facebook, WhatsApp and Platform, he said.

Sources also revealed that Thakur read out a letter addressed to him by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey during the meeting.

Twitter has been facing heat over allegations of political bias on account of which Dorsey was summoned. Dorsey, however, deputized Crowell for today’s meeting.

Last month, tech giant Google had also committed to making information on political advertisements on its platform public by furnishing details like who is purchasing election ads and the money spent.

Facebook also stated it will make it compulsory for advertisers to reveal their identity and location before any such advertisement material can be run on the popular social media platform as well as on Instagram which it had acquired.

Last November, Twitter had to apologise after a furore erupted in India when Jack Dorsey was seen lamely holding a poster saying “smash Brahminical patriarchy”.



Boycott calls multiplied along with threats to file a case against Dorsey for inciting hate. Twitter India went into a damage-control mode issuing an explanation. “Recently, we hosted a closed door discussion with a group of women journalists and change makers from India to better understand their experience using Twitter. One of the participants, a Dalit activist, shared her personal experiences and gifted a poster to Jack.

“It is not a statement from Twitter or our CEO, but a tangible reflection of our company’s efforts to see, hear, and understand all sides of important public conversations that happen on our service around the world.”

(With additional information from PTI)

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