Twitter India is now being made to face the heat, as the joint parliamentary panel on data privacy took to posing some tough questions on the microblogging site. For far too long, Twitter has had a free run in India, with almost nobody either from the executive or legislative branches of government demanding accountability from the social media giant. However, recent developments have alerted many within the government. Twitter showing sovereign Indian territory as a part of China, paying peanuts as taxes and in general being biased against conservative voices are all issues which have been taken note of by authorities, and Twitter’s glorious run in India is set to meet many bumps ahead.
The parliamentary committee made it a point to grill Twitter over how it likes to describe itself. Members of the data privacy parliamentary committee are said to have strongly disputed Twitter’s bid to distinguish itself as a “platform” rather than a “publisher” which would enable the firm to evade responsibility for content posted on its site. Such abdication of responsibilities on the part of Twitter did not bode well with the committee members as they told Twitter representatives that there was a need for accountability for content posted by various handles and which could be transmitted and replicated several times over.
According to TOI, the panel was also surprised to learn that Twitter had paid just Rs. 33 lakh by way of taxes in a particular financial year. Given the firm’s large scale of operations in India, its expenditure would itself be a considerable amount, which does not seem to be in synch with the taxes the microblogging giant paid.
Meanwhile, Twitter was also tremendously grilled by the joint parliamentary committee for not taking action against far-left anarchist and comedian Kunal Kamra, who has of late been repeatedly demeaning the Supreme Court of India by passing outrageous and obnoxious comments regarding the senior-most judges of the apex court. “It is shameful that Twitter is allowing its platform for obscene remarks like the one by stand-up comedian Kunal Karma against the Supreme Court and the CJI…Twitter is allowing its platform to be misused for abusing top constitutional authorities, such as Supreme Court and CJI,” BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi said.
Lekhi added that the social media platform’s representatives’ explanation was found to be inadequate on banning handles and tweets. This pertains to shadow-banning, suspension and deletion of accounts and tweets belonging to conservative voices in India. In recent times, Twitter is being held accountable in India for its functioning and randomly haphazard policies. The good times for the social media giant in India, at least, seem to be coming to an end.