Twitter to Send Public Policy VP, Not CEO Jack Dorsey, to Parliamentary Hearing

The back-and-forth between Twitter and the parliamentary panel has sparked controversy and public debate over the last two months.

New Delhi: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will not depose before India’s parliamentary standing committee on information technology next Monday, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Instead, the social media company will be sending Colin Crowell, its global vice president for public policy.

“We thank the Parliamentary Committee for its invitation to hear Twitter’s views on ‘Safeguarding citizen rights on social/online news media platforms’. These are issues for all Internet services globally. Colin Crowell, Global Vice President of Public Policy for Twitter, will meet with the Committee on Monday,” a company statement put out on Friday morning noted.

The back-and-forth between Twitter and the parliamentary panel, which is headed by the BJP’s Anurag Thakur, has sparked controversy and public debate over the last two months on what exactly the committee is hoping to get out of this hearing.

As The Wire has reported earlier, in the run-up to the committee inviting Twitter for its views on “safeguarding citizen rights”, the Narendra Modi government received representations from conservative, right-wing stakeholders.

There were also protests by a right-wing group, called ‘Youth for Social Democracy’, outside Twitter’s offices in New Delhi. The group alleged that the company had acquired an “anti right-wing attitude” and was blocking their accounts.

Also Read: The Parliamentary Panel Will Reinforce Bias on Twitter, Not Fix It

Twitter has responded publicly to these allegations – usually through Crowell or Mahima Kaul, the head of its India public policy team – by pointing out its policies are not applied on the “basis of political ideology”.

“To be clear, we do not review, prioritize, or enforce our policies on the basis of political ideology. Every Tweet and every account is treated impartially. We apply our policies fairly and judiciously for all. Mistakes can happen. However these mistakes or “false positive” decisions, are not political statements of intent; they are the basic human error rate of running the fastest, most open conversational tool in history,” Crowell wrote in a post on February 19.

“We have a specialized, global team that enforces the Twitter Rules with impartiality. Twitter India employees do not make enforcement decisions. This is by design to ensure fairness and objectivity,” he added.