Home / Technology / News /  Twitter pledges to work with govt to guard citizens’ rights

Twitter on Friday pledged to work with lawmakers and the government to safeguard freedom of expression and protect “the public conversation" in India amid continuing controversy over posts on the social media platform.

Twitter officials appeared before the parliamentary standing committee on information technology (IT) to face questions on its response to the government’s new IT rules.

The committee, headed by Congress lawmaker Shashi Tharoor, told the company that the “rule of the land" will be supreme and not Twitter’s internal policies, PTI reported.

The appearance was part of the committee’s routine consultations with the industry.

The agenda, according to Parliament’s website, was “to hear the views of representatives of Twitter followed by evidence of representatives of the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) on the subject of safeguarding citizens’ rights and prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms, including special emphasison women security in thedigital space".

Twitter said in a statement, “We appreciate the opportunity to share our views before the Standing Committee on Information Technology. Twitter stands prepared to work with the committee on the important work of safeguarding citizens’ rights online in line with our principles of transparency, freedom of expression, and privacy."

“We will also continue working alongside the Indian government as part of our shared commitment to serve and protect the public conversation," it said.

The microblogging giant has been involved in a tussle over the government’s intermediary guidelines announced in February. The guidelines require social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp to appoint nodal officers in key compliance positions, create automated processes for taking down pornography, remove offending content within 36 hours of receiving a legal order, and trace the originator of offending posts and messages.

Compliance with the guidelines is essential for platforms to enjoy safe harbour protections detailed in Section 79 of the IT Act.

The government has said on several occasions that Twitter is in non-compliance with these guidelines.

“There are numerous queries arising as to whether Twitter is entitled to safe harbour provision. However, the simple fact of the matter is that Twitter has failed to comply with the Intermediary Guidelines that came into effect from the 26th of May," IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tweeted on 16 June.

“We are keeping MeitY apprised ofthe progress at every step of the process. An interim chief compliance officer has been retained and details will be shared with the ministry directly. Twitter continues to make every effort to comply with the new guidelines," Twitter had said at the time.

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