Twitter Grilled On Blocking Amit Shah Account At Parliamentary Panel Meet

Both Twitter and Facebook said they have strong rules regarding content and would remove content when necessary to ensure it does not incite violence

Twitter Grilled On Blocking Amit Shah Account At Parliamentary Panel Meet

Twitter explained that they had to block account temporarily as there was a copyright issue (File)

New Delhi:

Executives from Twitter, who appeared before a parliamentary committee on Thursday, faced questions on why Union Home Minister Amit Shah's Twitter account was blocked in November. The agenda of the meeting with Facebook and Twitter included safeguarding citizens' rights, preventing misuse of social news media platforms and women security in the digital space.

But sources said Twitter executives were questioned why Mr Shah's Twitter account was blocked and who gave them the right to do so. The Twitter officials explained that they had to block the account temporarily as there was a copyright issue regarding a picture posted.

When Mr Shah's account was blocked, Twitter had explained it as an "inadvertent error" under its copyright policies.  "This decision was reversed immediately and the account is fully functional," a spokesperson of the microblogging site had said.

In the backdrop of a huge controversy over hate speech and content being closely monitored and removed in the United States, some members -- especially those from the ruling dispensation -- questioned how social media platforms could remove content when there is no law against it in India.

Both Twitter and Facebook said they have strong rules regarding content and would remove content when necessary to ensure it does not incite violence.

The rules had been spectacularly upheld recently when Twitter blocked the account of then US President Donald Trump after the unprecedented violence at the Capitol in Washington DC.

In the meeting, Facebook also explained its policy on the new privacy laws of WhatsApp, which has caused concern in India.

The key issues discussed included the concern over privacy, monetisation of data and the misinformation in social media. These issues will be raised in a report and hopefully will be taken note of while considering the data privacy law, members of the committee said.