The Indian parliamentary panel on Information Technology has summoned representatives of Twitter for "discussions" on a range of issues, including the security of women on social media.
In a meeting scheduled for 18 June, the committee will also deliberate on the evidence presented against Twitter by representatives of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on how Twitter India allegedly allowed its platform to be misused in a way that violated citizens' rights. The ministry had directed Twitter in February of this year to remove tweets and accounts using hashtag related to "farmer genocide" and accounts supported by Khalistan sympathisers who were backed by Pakistan.
"The panel will discuss the IT regulation rules and some of the recent developments, including the manipulated media controversy, the Twitter’s India officials being questioned by Delhi Police and the intermediary guidelines and their compliance,” said a source in India's parliament.
The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 came into effect on 25 May, which instructs social media platforms to be able to identify the first originator of problematic content that could harm the country's interests. WhatsApp filed a case against the rules in the Delhi High Court, charging that the new rules meant breaking the end-to-end encryption on the platform.
Over two weeks ago, a special Delhi Police team went to the offices of Twitter India in Delhi and Gurugram and carried out searches in connection with the ongoing matter of a 'toolkit', allegedly made by the Congress party, and the tagging of some ruling party politicians tweets as "manipulated media". The government had asked Twitter to take down the manipulated media tag.
Twitter has raised concerns about the requirement in the new rules making an individual, the compliance officer, criminally liable for content on the platform, the requirements for proactive monitoring and the blanket authority to seek information about its customers.