As the row between Twitter and the government over the new IT guidelines intensified, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology requested an explanation from the microblogging platform about the ban on Twitter accounts of Union Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and committee chair Shashi Tharoor.
It was learned that the committee wrote to Twitter – it was summoned to appear before the committee on June 18 – and asked it to explain why the Twitter handles of Prasad and Tharoor were banned, and what its policy on blocking accounts and safeguards to ensure this is random. Blocking does not happen.
last week, Prasad has been blocked from accessing his accountEscalation of tensions with the government. After that, Twitter came under fresh criticism for not following Indian laws.
Twitter denied Prasad access to his account for about an hour on the grounds that he violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Prasad said the platform violated IT rules that require a moderator or group of user content to provide advance notice before locking access.
He criticized Twitter, saying that “his actions suggest that they are not harbingers of the freedom of expression they claim to be, but are only interested in managing their own agenda.”
After this incident, Tharoor also said that he faced a similar issue with Twitter.
On June 25, in response to Prasad’s post about his account being blocked, Tharoor said, “Raviji, same thing just happened to me. The DMCA is clearly getting more active. This tweet has been deleted by Twitter because her video Includes BoneyM’s copyrighted song “Rasputin”.
“As the Chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, I can say that we will seek an explanation from TwitterIndia to lock down @rsprasad and my accounts and the rules and procedures they follow while operating in India,” he said.
On Tuesday, panelists from various sides were said to have united in making clear to Google India and Facebook India that they will have to comply with Indian IT rules.
The commission, according to its website, summoned representatives from Google India and Facebook to hear their views “on the topic of ‘Protecting citizens’ rights and preventing abuse of social/online media platforms, including a special focus on women’s security in the digital space’.”
Facebook India was said to have told the commission that it had no ways to find the source of a WhatsApp message because it is protected by end-to-end encryption. Members are known to have wanted to know that if this is the case, how does that limit message forwarding.
In April 2020, WhatsApp imposed a limit on forwarding messages. Frequently forwarded messages, those that were previously forwarded five or more times, can only be forwarded to one chat at a time.
Facebook and Google were said to have told the commission that they would comply fully with the provisions of the IT rules and the law of the land.