Twitter India declined to comment on the outcome of the meeting
Twitter India declined to comment on the outcome of the meeting

Parliamentary panel asks Twitter to take strong measures on women and child cyber safety

  • Apart from a detailed presentation of women related safety issues, the panel also asked Twitter to look into the online safety of young children
  • The panel urged Twitter to consider increasing the minimum age requirement for opening accounts on its platform to 15 years from the current 13 years

Micro blogging platform Twitter India appeared before a parliamentary committee examining the issue of cyber safety and security of women on Wednesday. Top executives from the social media firm made a presentation on the issue before the panel headed by BJP MP Heena Gavit. The all women panel has a total of 20 members.

"Twitter gave a brief on its functioning and what steps are taken in case there is a complaint or an objectionable post. Representatives of Twitter also gave a detailed presentation to all the members of the committee. It is likely that they can be invited for discussion again," said those in the know of development.

Apart from a detailed presentation of women related safety issues, the panel also asked Twitter to look into the online safety of young children. LocalCircles, an online community platform, has written to the parliamentary standing committee on Information Technology (IT) and parliamentary panel on women empowerment to take up the online privacy of children with social media firms.

During the meeting, the panel urged Twitter to consider increasing the minimum age requirement for opening accounts on its platform to 15 years from the current 13 years. It has also asked the platform to adopt robust age verification mechanisms so that under-age children are unable to sign up. In addition, Twitter was asked to find ways to effectively and proactively remove abusive and inappropriate content.

Twitter India declined to comment on the outcome of the meeting.

The panel will meet Facebook representatives who will make a presentation on behalf of its family of apps such as WhatsApp and Instagram on Thursday.

Social media platforms have been in the eye of the storm, with many accusing them of not doing enough to curb the misuse of their platforms. Many have ended up in legal battles worldwide including in India. For instance, short-video app TikTok was accused of promoting pornography among teens and temporarily banned from app stores following a Madras High Court order, while WhatsApp was slammed for not being able to curb fake messages which led to several cases of mob lynchings in 2018 and, more recently, for the Pegasus spyware attack. Twitter too has been criticised for failing to curb hate speech.

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