Elections, Citizen Data Top Priorities: Parl Panel to Facebook
At a meeting with Facebook's Global Policy Vice President Joel Kaplan, the Parliamentary Committee on Information Technology has told officials from Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram that in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, national security and protecting citizens’ data are the panel's top priorities, news agency ANI reported on Wednesday, 6 March.
At the hearing, Kaplan not only laid down the social media platform’s policies for the upcoming elections but also apologied for remarks made by Facebook’s employees on Pulwama attack.
After meeting Kaplan on Friday, panel chief Anurag Thakur said that the social media giant has accepted there is a need for corrective measures and that it is ready to implement them. He said that the company will be in touch with the Election Commission to work on information provided by the concerned ministries.
When asked by the committee if the platform is serving the society or dividing it, Facebook said that it is a “hybrid company" and failed to clearly answer which regulatory framework applies to its content, advertising and marketing operations in India.
The committee had summoned the representatives of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram on 6 March. Both WhatsApp and Instagram are owned by Facebook.
The Parliamentary Committee on IT – that met on Monday, 25 February, to question Twitter Vice President Colin Crowell – saw fewer than one-third of the panel’s members in attendance.
After the meeting with Twitter VP, the committee asked the platform to ensure that the upcoming Lok Sabha elections are “not undermined and influenced by foreign entities” – and granted 10 days to CEO Jack Dorsey to respond in writing to questions that remained unanswered. Thakur also indicated that they may be summoned again before the committee.
(With ANI inputs.)