Twitter CEO, top officials decline to appear before House panel

  • The parliamentary panel on IT had summoned them over the issue of safeguarding citizens' rights on social media
  • Twitter cited "short notice of the hearing" as the reason for declining to appear before the panel

New Delhi: Twitter CEO and top officials have declined to appear before the Parliamentary Committee on IT, which had summoned them over the issue of safeguarding citizens' rights on social media platforms, sources in the panel said on Saturday.

The committee, headed by BJP MP Anurag Thakur, had issued a summon to Twitter via an official letter dated 1 February. The meeting was scheduled for 7 February, but was later postponed to 11 February to allow Twitter CEO and senior officials more time to make themselves available.

Twitter cited "short notice of the hearing" as the reason, despite being given 10 days to travel, said the sources quoted above.

The letter sent to Twitter by the committee on 1 February clearly stated that "it may be noted that the Head of the Organisation has to appear before the Committee". It further stated that "He/She may be accompanied by another representative."

The committee received a letter on February 7 from Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's global lead for legal, policy, trust and safety, stating, "No one who engages publicly for Twitter India makes enforcement decisions with respect to our rules for content or accounts in India." Deputing a junior employee to represent Twitter at the committee has not gone down well with Indian lawmakers, especially since they have no decision-making authority, the letter from Gadde said.

A Twitter spokesperson told PTI: "Given the short notice of the hearing, we informed the committee that it would not be possible for senior officials from Twitter to travel from the United States to appear on Monday." "Our CEO, Jack Dorsey, and other senior Twitter executives visited India in recent weeks because it is an important market for Twitter and we value the growing interest in Twitter in India... We have suggested that we work with the Lok Sabha Secretariat to find mutually agreeable dates for this meeting so that a senior Twitter official can attend. We have also offered representatives from Twitter India to come and answer questions on Monday. We await feedback from the government on both of these matters," the spokesperson added.

This comes at a time when there are growing concerns about safeguarding citizens' data privacy and election interference through social media platforms.

Twitter's conduct is being watched globally and their response is being seen with concern as India's Parliamentary hearing is among the fourth in the world after the US Congress, Singapore and the EU.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed