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Prevent misuse, comply with poll rules real-time, Parliamentary panel tells Twitter


IANS New Delhi
A parliamentary panel on Monday asked Twitter to ensure that content on its platform is not misused by "foreign entities" to influence the 2019 general elections in India like allegedly during the 2016 US presidential polls.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, also told Twitter to "engage more" with Election Commission officials and ensure "real-time compliance" with the guidelines concerning free and fair elections.
Colin Crowell, global Vice President of Public Policy of Twitter, and other officials deposed before the Parliamentary Committee headed by BJP MP Anurag Thakur.
The meeting lasted about three-and-a-half hours. Sources said Crowell answered a few questions and assured to get back with written answers to rest of the questions in 10 days.
"The Lok Sabha elections should be free and fair. There should not be the kind of complaints as in the US," Thakur told reporters later.
He said that Twitter officials have been asked to engage with Election Commission officials to address issues on a real-time basis.
"There should be real-time compliance," he said.
Sources said that Twitter officials were asked to ensure that their platform is not misused by "foreign entities" which undermines and influences the Lok Sabha polls.
The meeting comes after a complaint was submitted to the panel alleging an "anti-rightwing" bias on Twitter.
The US presidential polls were shadowed by allegations that Russia used every major social media platform to try to influence the election.
Technology executives have appeared before US lawmakers over allegations of political influence activity on their sites as also that relating to user privacy.
Thakur said that public policy heads of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram have been called to appear before the parliamentary panel on March 6.
Meanwhile, Facebook, in a statement said that it was deeply committed to India and to safeguarding users and their rights.
"We deeply appreciate the opportunity to answer questions from the Parliamentary Committee and to outline the specific steps we have taken to help ensure the safety of our users," a Facebook spokesperson said.

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First Published: Feb 25 2019 | 9:00 PM IST

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