Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has come under fire for skipping a parliamentary committee meeting on Monday, 11 February. Dorsey, along with other senior global executives were summoned by the Parliamentary Committee on Information Technology ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections – Twitter has often been accused of left-wing bias by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The parliamentary committee had summoned Dorsey and other senior officials on 11 February. However, only Twitter India executives showed up for the meeting. The committee has now asked Dorsey and other senior officials to appear before it on 25 February, panel head Anurag Thakur confirmed.
The committe also suggested that it could initiate a ‘breach of privilege action’ against Twitter, AlJazeera reported.
“Of course it can be an issue of breach of parliamentary privilege,” committee head Anurag Thakur said.
He also said that Twitter is taking advantage of the world’s biggest market and is unwilling to answer.
Monday was not the first time Twitter was summoned by the Parliamentary Committee. Dorsey was asked to come before the committee on 1 February as well. Twitter, however, refused to appear citing such a ‘short notice’. Indian Express also quoted Twitter sources as saying that a letter from the committee on 1 February asked for “representatives of Twitter” to attend the parliamentary hearings and on 7 February, another letter changed the request to “the CEO or at least the next senior most functionary in the hierarchy”.
The committee has now passed a resolution unanimously that they will not meet any Twitter officials until senior members or CEO of the Twitter Global team depose before the committee.
One member of the committee, according to Indian Express, suggested that other social media players like Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram should be called before the panel.
Some members also pointed out that since such companies had the power to select the content that appears on their platforms, it makes them an algorithmic editor. Hence, social media platforms should be considered media and potentially follow all rules meant for foreign media in the country.