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Twitter Policy head Crowell deposes: Parl panel asks it not to 'undermine' Indian polls

2/25/2019

New Delhi, Bringing end to intense battle of wits between two sides, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology finally allowed Colin Crowell, Vice President & Global Policy Head of the Twitter to depose before the 31-member panel. Committee chairman Anurag Thakur, a BJP lawmaker, later asked the micro blogging site to reply in ten days in writing on some questions raised by various quarters including the members of the committee. The 31-member Standing Committee of Parliament on IT and also other departments have 21 members from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha. According to sources the Twitter Head of Public Policy Colin Crowell was allowed to depose before the 31-member panel - which had on February 11 disallowed Twitter executive Director, Policy for South Asia Mahima Kaul to depose before them. Mr Thakur read out a letter addressed to him by Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsey and allowed Mr Crowell to appear before the committee. Sources said while giving 10 days time, Twitter has been also asked to ensure that Indian elections are not undermined and influenced by foreign entities. The much popular micro blogging site has been also directed to 'work in real time with Election Commission' to address poll-related issues. Sources, however, said Twitter may be called again before the Committee. During February 11 deliberations, the source said the members from various parties had raised the issue of 'propriety' against Twitter and said by indulging in the role of "editing the content and deciding on who will be followers and so on, Twitter has started functioning like a media house". "It is no longer a technology enabler platform and hence rules applied to media houses especially in the context of FDI may apply to them," another member has said. Twitter executives have provoked angry reactions in last few days from lawmakers and especially a section of BJP was not happy over the fact that the popular micro blogging site has reportedly encouraged left leaning and anti-government tweets in recent past. Indian Parliament is the fourth legislature globally after Singapore, European Union and the US Congress to probe into the issue of 'abuse of political content' and conduct of the popular and globally acclaimed micro blogging site.

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