Parliamentary panel summons Facebook, Twitter officials over misuse of social media platforms on 21 Jan

The summons comes amid a raging debate after messaging platform WhatsApp updated its privacy policy. The panel, chaired by Shashi Tharoor, will hear the representations from 4:00 pm

The Parliamentary Committee on Information Technology has summoned Facebook and Twitter officials on 21 January to question them on the misuse of social media and online news platforms and how to safeguard citizens’ rights.

During the meeting, the panel will hear their views on safeguarding citizens' rights and preventing misuse of social media, reports Business Today.

According to the Lok Sabha website, the agenda of the meeting has stated: “Evidence of representatives of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and to hear the views of the representatives of Facebook and Twitter on the subject ‘Safeguarding citizens’ rights and prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms including special emphasis on women security in the digital space’.”

The 31-member Parliamentary Committee on Information Technology is headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor. The panel was constituted in the month of September last year.  The panel, chaired by Tharoor, will hear the representations from 4:00 pm.

The summons comes amid a debate after messaging platform WhatsApp updated its privacy policy. Earlier this month, WhatsApp came under the scanner after it revised its privacy policy, and it reserved the right to share some user data with Facebook.

The application had asked users to agree to the new policies by a certain date or else they would not be able to use the platform. However, the reactions to the updated policies have led to the extension of the older policies till the month of May, after tens of millions of its users moved from the platform to rivals like Signal and Telegram.

The policy change was originally scheduled to come into effect on 8 February, the Facebook-owned company said.

It has clarified that the update does not affect data sharing with Facebook with regard to personal conversations or other profile information and only addresses business chats in the event a user converses with a company's customer service platform through WhatsApp.

With inputs from agencies

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