Parl Panel Asks Twitter Why MP, Minister's Accounts Were Locked

The panel also asked Google and Facebook to comply with India's new IT Rules and follow the country's laws.

2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Twitter. Image used for representational purposes.&nbsp;</p></div>

A standing committee of the Parliament on Information and Technology (IT), led by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, whose Twitter account was earlier locked temporarily, has sought Twitter's response on the locking of his and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s Twitter account.

Prasad on 25 June, had said that Twitter denied him access to his account for almost an hour.

The panel, which had called representatives of Google and Facebook to appear before it on Tuesday, 29 June, also asked the tech giants to comply with India's new IT Rules and follow the country's laws.

Google and Facebook were told to put in place stringent data privacy and security safeguards.


On What Basis Were the Accounts Blocked?

The panel directed the secretariat to seek in writing from Twitter within two days on what basis Tharoor and Prasad's Twitter accounts were blocked.

They added further, “If the committee does not get a satisfactory reply from Twitter, then the committee can summon the Twitter official,” news agency ANI reported.

Twitter’s representatives had earlier appeared before the same panel on 18 June, amid the tussle between the microblogging site and the Centre over the new IT Rules 2021.

Meanwhile, the Bhopal Cyber Cell on Tuesday, 29 June, registered an FIR against Twitter India Managing Director Manish Maheshwari under Section 505 of IT Act after the platform displayed, and later removed, a distorted map of India on its website on Monday, 28 June.

Facebook, Google Asked To Follow India's Rules

The official agenda circulated on Tuesday among members of the panel said, "To hear the views of representatives of Facebook India and Google India on the subject of 'safeguarding citizens' rights and prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms, including special emphasis on women security in the digital space", NDTV reported.

Saying that there were loopholes in the companies' existing data protection policies, the committee directed Facebook and Google to follow instructions issued by the government and court orders.

The next summon will be sent to representatives of YouTube and other social media intermediaries, in the coming weeks.

Facebook India’s Director of Public Policy Shivnath Thukral and Associate General Counsel Namrata Singh, represented Facebook at the deposition. While Google India sent Aman Jain, its Country Head for Government Affairs and Public Policy, and Gitanjali Duggal, the Legal Department Director.

(With inputs from ANI and NDTV)

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