Friday, October 22, 2021
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Parliamentary panel on IT tells Facebook, Google ‘Indian laws supreme’; fall in line

The committee had emphasised that laws followed in India are supreme, not the social media platforms’ policies and they need to abide by them

Amid a growing tussle between the global social media platform and the Centre over new IT rules, representatives of social media platforms including Facebook and Google on Tuesday deposed before the parliamentary panel to iron out differences and discuss the future roadmap to block the misuse of these platforms while safeguarding the rights of citizens.

The parliamentary standing committee on information technology is headed by senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor. The IT panel in the meeting directed Facebook and Google to comply with new IT rules and follow the rules of the country.

The committee had called on the executives of both Facebook and Google to discuss the issue of safeguarding citizens’ rights and prevent the misuse of social/online news media platforms. While Facebook’s country policy director Shivnath Thukral and general counsel Namrata Singh were representing the company before the House panel, Google was represented by its India head (government affairs and public policy) Aman Jain and director (legal) Gitanjali Duggal.

The panel has summoned several social media giants on the issue of misuse of such platforms. A few days earlier, officials of microblogging site Twitter also presented before the committee and were asked to give a presentation on the prevention of misuse of the platform.

The committee had emphasised that laws followed in India are supreme, not the social media platforms’ policies and they need to abide by them. The parliamentary committee on IT also plans to summon representatives of YouTube and other social media intermediaries in the coming weeks over the issue. Earlier, Facebook representatives had informed the parliamentary panel that their company policy does not allow their officials to attend in-person meetings because of their Covid-related protocol.

But Tharoor conveyed to Facebook that its officials will have to appear in person since the parliament secretariat does not allow any virtual meetings.

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