At a meeting of a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology on Thursday, representatives of Twitter faced a barrage questions about why the microblogging website locked Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s account in November, NDTV reported.
The panel, led by Congress lawmaker Shashi Tharoor, met Twitter’s India and South Asia Public Policy Director Mahima Kaul and Facebook’s Public Policy Director Shivnath Thukral, along with other officials from the social media platforms, reported News18. The agenda of the meeting reportedly included safeguarding citizens’ rights, preventing misuse of social media platforms, and women’s security in the digital space.
But the discussion unexpectedly veered off to Twitter’s decision to suspend Shah’s account, unidentified officials told NDTV. The panel members heavily came down on the website for the action, and asked the company executives who had “given them the right to do so”.
When Shah’s account was locked for half an hour in November, Twitter had defended the move, citing an “inadvertent error” under its copyright policies. “This decision was reversed immediately and the account is fully functional,” a spokesperson of the microblogging site had said.
At Thursday’s meeting, the social media platform reiterated this, and explained the action was taken as per their policy after algorithms flagged a copyright issue, according to News18. “The matter was clarified and the account was restored within half an hour,” Twitter told the panel, the channel reported.
Meanwhile, some members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party also asked Facebook and Twitter to explain how social media platforms took decisions to remove content from their websites when there was no law against it in India, according to NDTV.