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Twitter summoned before Indian parliamentary panel on 'safeguarding' social media users

Key Points
  • Twitter was summoned on Tuesday before an Indian Parliament panel to present its views on "safeguarding citizens' rights on social/online news media platforms."
  • Local news outlets reported the notice was issued after a volunteer group supposedly wrote to the committee, alleging that Twitter was biased against right-wing and pro-Bharatiya Janata Party accounts.
  • When reached for comment, a Twitter spokesperson told CNBC the company has "nothing to share" on the summons.
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Twitter was summoned on Tuesday before an Indian Parliament panel to present its views on "safeguarding citizens' rights on social/online news media platforms."

The notice was tweeted by Anurag Thakur who heads the Parliamentary Committee on Information Technology and is a member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Local news outlets reported the notice was issued after a volunteer group supposedly wrote to the committee, alleging that Twitter was biased against right-wing and pro-BJP accounts.

Twitter was asked to appear before the committee on Feb. 11 at 3 p.m. local time along with representatives from India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

When reached for comment, a Twitter spokesperson told CNBC the company has "nothing to share" on the summons.

The panel would examine a "range of issues," which include the problem of fake news in the run up to India's parliamentary elections, The Times of India reported, citing committee sources. The panel also wants to know how Twitter India is dealing with complaints of bias and the technology it uses to detect and filter comments, the newspaper said.

In December, India's technology ministry drafted plans that would compel the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Facebook's WhatsApp to remove content considered unlawful within 24 hours. The move was criticized by the Asia Internet Coalition, whose members include Alphabet's Google and Facebook, Reuters reported.

Social media has played a critical role in recent years during various elections around the world, including the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. Tech names including Twitter and Facebook have said they've stepped up efforts to contain fake news and the spread of misinformation.