- Twitter officials summoned over issue of citizens' rights on social media
- Meeting was scheduled for February 7, later postponed to the 11th
- Twitter cited "short notice of hearing", said officials would not come
Twitter's CEO and top officials have declined to appear before the Parliamentary Committee on IT that had summoned them over the issue of safeguarding citizens' rights on social media platforms, sources in the panel said Saturday.
The parliamentary committee, headed by BJP Member of Parliament Anurag Thakur, had issued a summons to Twitter via an official letter on February 1.
The parliamentary committee meeting was scheduled for February 7, but was later postponed to February 11 to allow the Twitter CEO and senior officials more time to make themselves available.
Twitter cited "short notice of the hearing" as the reason, despite being given 10 days to travel, the sources said. A Twitter spokesperson told PTI, "Given the short notice of the hearing, we informed the Committee that it would not be possible for senior officials from Twitter to travel from the United States to appear on Monday."
"Our CEO, Jack Dorsey, and other senior Twitter executives visited India in recent weeks because it is an important market for Twitter and we value the growing interest in Twitter in India," the spokesperson added.
The letter sent to Twitter by the Parliamentary IT Committee on February 1 clearly stated that "it may be noted that the Head of the Organisation has to appear before the Committee". It further stated that "He/She may be accompanied by another representative."
The Parliamentary IT Committee received a letter on February 7 from Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's global lead for legal, policy, trust and safety, stating, "No one who engages publicly for Twitter India makes enforcement decisions with respect to our rules for content or accounts in India."
Deputing a junior employee to represent Twitter at the Indian Parliamentary IT Committee has not gone down well with Indian lawmakers especially since they have no decision making authority, the letter from Mr Gadde said.
This comes at a time when there are growing concerns about safeguarding citizens' data privacy and election interference through social media platforms.
Twitter has faced increasing scrutiny globally over its conduct and India's parliamentary hearing is the fourth one in the world after similar ones in US, Singapore and the European Union.