Anurag Thakur, the head of the India parliamentary committee on information and technology, on Monday made a major climb down from his earlier demand and agreed to meet Colin Crowell, Vice President & Global Policy Head of Twitter. Earlier, he had demanded Twitter CEO to appear before the committee in light of the Hindutva brigade’s protest against the microblogging site.
A report by news agency ANI said that Thakur had appealed to Twitter to ensure that this year’s Lok Sabha elections were not undermined and influenced by foreign entities. He also asked the Twitter to work ‘in real time with Election Commission to address issues.’
Sources: Anurag Thakur has asked Twitter to ensure that Indian elections are not undermined and influenced by foreign entities. He stressed they must work in real time with Election Commission to address issues. https://t.co/oG11eHeyIF
— ANI (@ANI) February 25, 2019
Thakur also tweeted that Twitter will appear before the committee but did not mention that Dorsey had rejected his notice once again.
Twitter will appear before the Parliamentary Commitee today 25th Feb.
Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram will appear on 6th March. https://t.co/0sIOhVZIdZ
— Anurag Thakur (@ianuragthakur) February 25, 2019
Thakur later told ANI, “Twitter public policy head Colin Crowell gave us response of some questions, he’ll file written reply on rest of the questions in 10 days. Officials of Facebook, WhatsApp & Instagram will appear before committee on March 6.”
Anurag Thakur, head of the parliamentary committee on IT: Twitter public policy head Colin Crowell gave us response of some questions, he'll file written reply on rest of the questions in 10 days. Officials of Facebook, WhatsApp & Instagram will appear before committee on March 6 pic.twitter.com/DVMkpHzh8w
— ANI (@ANI) February 25, 2019
Today’s development has come as a major embarrassment to Thakur and his party, the BJP. After Dorsey refused to appear earlier this month, the saffron party’s much-maligned IT cell had urged Thakur to teach Twitter a lesson. Thakur himself had tweeted on 9 February, “The Parliamentary Committee on Information Technology takes very serious note of this. We will take appropriate action on 11th February.”
The Parliamentary Commitee on Information Technology takes very serious note of this.
We will take appropriate action on 11th February.
Citizens are welcome to send their concerns/issues via email to the Parliamentary Commitee.
— Anurag Thakur (@ianuragthakur) February 9, 2019
However, experts had made it clear that the Indian government was simply not capable of acting against the social media giant. Many had even mocked BJP trolls to quit Twitter if they felt that the social media platform was biased against them.
Supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi had even staged protests against Twitter for its alleged biases against them. A group of BJP supporters had organised a protest march earlier this month to make their displeasure known on the topic. However, they faced social media ridicule for using Twitter to vent their frustration against the social media platform.