Panel questions FB on privacy policy; asks Twitter about Trump ban

Our Bureau. New Delhi | Updated on January 21, 2021

The social media giants Facebook and Twitter appeared before the Information Technology Standing Committee of Parliament here on Thursday. The representatives of Facebook are learnt to have told the panel, headed by Shashi Tharoor, that the changes in privacy policy were decided by their headquarters and the concerns over it will be conveyed to the officials sitting in the United States.

The MPs in the panel questioned the Facebook over the changes announced in the privacy policy of Facebook and WhatsApp. The representatives did not give any assurance to the MPs. The MPs criticised the changes in the policy and said the platforms should desist from impinging on the privacy of consumers.

The issue of ban on Donald Trump's Twitter handle had also come up during the discussion. The BJP MPs in the panel sought to know the reasons for banning Union Home Minister Amit Shah's Twitter handle at least for some time. The representatives of Twitter are learnt to have told the meeting that it happened because the algorithm caught a copyright violation in one of the tweets by mistake and it was corrected within half an hour.

The panel summoned both the companies to hear their views on the subject ‘Safeguarding citizens’ rights and prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms including special emphasis on women security in the digital space. The panel will meet again on Friday.

The joint panel on the Data Protection Bill had also summoned the Facebook and Twitter earlier. The panel, headed by BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi, grilled the companies on their policies for protection of privacy of subscribers. This was the second time the companies will be appearing before Tharoor-led panel on the subject.

The panel had also examined the reports appeared in western media that the Facebook showed partiality in India towards right wing forces.

Published on January 21, 2021

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