Twitter India officials came to meet the panel. It was lead by Twitter India chief Mahima Kaul. However, the Parliamentary panel which is looking at the alleged bias shown by the social media platform refused to meet any of the Indian officials.
The panel lead by BJP MP Anurag Thakur is looking to interview the Twitter bigshots including the top boss Jack Dorsey, and grill them about different issues raised by Indian Twitter users. So a 15 day deadline has been given and Jack and other officials have to appear before the panel before 25 th February. The decision to not meet Indian Twitter officials was taken unanimously, according to reports.
Faced with allegations of being politically biased in India, Twitter last week said it believes in impartiality and does not take any actions, such as blocking of accounts, based on political views.
Twitter, which has been accused by supporters of the ruling BJP of being biased against the right-wing, said “abuse and hateful conduct comes from accounts across the ideological spectrum” and it will continue to take action when rules are broken.
Explaining how trending topics on Twitter work, the US-based microblogging platform said the velocity or the number of tweets in a given time period and not the total number of tweets decides what is trending.
The statement by Twitter comes days before its representatives are set to appear before a Parliamentary panel on information technology, which is perceived to have issued the summons to it as a reaction to concerns of supporters of the ruling dispensation.
The committee head and BJP MP Anurag Thakur on February 5 had tweeted about the agenda of the February 11 meeting as examining the issue of “safeguarding citizens’ rights on social/online news media platforms”.
In its statement, Twitter asserted that the company “does not take any actions based upon political views or viewpoints”, neither does it use political ideology to rank content on its service.
“There has been a lot of discussion about Twitter and political bias in India in recent weeks and the global real time communication platform today set the record straight… Twitter is a platform where voices from across the spectrum can be seen and heard. It is committed to the principles of openness, transparency, and impartiality,” it added.
The US-based company argued that the content that appears in users’ timelines or the manner in which the company enforces its policies are impartial, and that it is “committed to remain unbiased with public interest in mind”.
“Twitter’s product and policies are never developed nor evolved on the basis of political ideology… Abuse and hateful conduct comes from accounts across the ideological spectrum and Twitter will continue to take action when its rules are broken,” it added.Twitter,which counts India among its biggest markets, said it has a specialised, global team that enforces its rules with impartiality and that its India employees do not make enforcement decisions which “by design” ensures fairness and objectivity.
“Twitter does not review, prioritise, or enforce its policies on the basis of political ideology. Every Tweet and every account is treated impartially. We apply our policies fairly and judiciously for all.
“If there are ‘false positive’ decisions, these are not political statements of intent; they are the basic human error rate of running the fastest, most open conversational tool in history,” Twitter Global VP (Public Policy) Colin Crowell said.
The company also stated that the public verification process on its platform is currently closed.
Twitter said it is working with Indian political parties to verify candidates, elected officials, and relevant party officials whose accounts will be active in the public conversation.
“To be clear, the parties themselves select the accounts for verification and then Twitter reviews these accounts to ensure they meet the company’s verification standards,” it said.
Twitter emphasised that it verifies these accounts to “empower healthy election conversations” and to “provide confidence that these public figures are whom they claim to be”.
“India is the world’s largest democracy, and one of our fastest-growing audience markets globally. Twitter’s real-time and open nature facilitates robust civic engagement on topics of national and local interest during elections.
We are committed to surfacing all sides of the conversation as we enter the election season in this extraordinarily diverse cultural, political and social climate,” Crowell said.He added that the company endeavours to be “even more transparent in how we develop and enforce our policies to dispel conspiracy theories and mistrust”.