The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology told Twitter that the “law of the land is supreme” and not the company’s policies. The panel, headed by Congress Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor, told the platform’s India officials that the company will have to abide by the government’s rules.
In response, Twitter’s officials told the panel that “we follow our own policies,” which was strongly objected to by the committee members who categorically told the company’s India officials that it is not above the law of the land.
“We appreciate the opportunity to share our views before the Standing Committee on Information Technology. Twitter stands prepared to work with the Committee on the important work of safeguarding citizens’ rights online, in line with our principles of transparency, freedom of expression and privacy,” the microblogging platform’s spokesperson said in a statement. The company, the spokesperson added, will continue to work alongside the Indian government as part of its shared commitment to serve and protect the public conversation.
The panel has summoned Twitter over concerns of misuse of the social media platform as well as the protection of citizens’ rights. Shagufta Kamran, the company’s India public policy manager, and legal counsel Ayushi Kapoor deposed before the Parliamentary committee amid the ongoing row between the Centre and the platform over the new IT rules.
Sources said the members of the Parliamentary panel asked the social media platform why it should not be fined as it has been found “violating” the rules of the country. The Centre, earlier this month, has issued a notice to the platform giving it one last chance to “immediately” comply with the new IT rules. The government warned that failure to adhere to the norms will lead to the company losing exemption from liability under the IT Act.
Moreover, Twitter had been slammed for deliberate defiance and failure to comply with the IT rules, which has led the company losing its intermediary status in India, and becoming liable for users posting unlawful content. Over the past few months, the US-based social media platform and the Indian government have been at loggerheads over multiple instances, including during the farmers’ protest and recently when it tagged several leaders of the ruling BJP as manipulated media.