IT panel quizzes Facebook, Twitter over data protection
“It was a constructive debate, with all parties agreeing that technology is evolving everyday,” said a person familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It is a constant and persistent challenge and everyone agreed that they need to work together to find a solution.”
The ministry of electronics and information technology has also written to WhatsApp asking it to withdraw the changes. Officials from the ministry were present at the meeting and said that they were keeping tabs on the situation, with the need of the hour being straightening India’s personal data policy.
At the meeting, Facebook did not mention whether the policy will be revoked. “They did reassure the panel that individual rights were its priority and asserted that the policy was introduced in 2016. They maintained that the new policy will not infringe on the rights of users and there should be no concerns regarding data sharing.”
A Facebook spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Twitter also faced criticism for doing too little to curb hate speech, the person mentioned above said.
Twitter said it takes immediate action when it comes to tackling abusive content. “We appreciate the opportunity of being able to share our views before the Standing Committee on Information Technology. We put the people who use our service first at every step, and have made progress when it comes to making Twitter a safer place,” a Twitter spokesperson said.
Interestingly, one of the panel’s members, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Nishikant Dubey, criticised Twitter for overreach in banning former US President Donald Trump from the platform.
“Twitter can’t act as both an intermediary and a publisher, it has to be one or the other,” a second person familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.
Representatives from WhatsApp also attended the meeting. “We wish to thank the Honorable Parliamentary Committee for giving us an opportunity to appear before them and provide our views. We look forward to assisting the Hon’ble Committee in future as well,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said.
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