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India may ask Twitter to go ‘silent’ for 48 hours before Lok Sabha polls

Twitter officials have also been asked to meet the Election Commission officials ahead of the polls.

  • Published: February 26, 2019 10:03 AM IST
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A parliamentary panel on Monday asked Twitter executives to ensure that the content on their platform supports “free and fair” Lok Sabha elections and it does not face allegations of bias or politically motivated practices. As per the Election Commission of India (ECI) guidelines, Twitter may be asked to go silent for 48 hours in areas where polls are being conducted.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, also told Twitter to talk to 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, deposed before the Parliamentary Committee headed by BJP MP Anurag Thakur.  The meeting lasted about three-and-a-half hours. Sources said he answered a few questions and assured to get back with answers to others 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. Thakur said that Twitter officials have been asked to meet Election Commission officials. “There should be real-time compliance,” he said.

The meeting comes after a complaint was submitted to the panel alleging an “anti-rightwing” bias on Twitter. 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.

  • Published Date: February 26, 2019 10:03 AM IST