FB, Google officials depose before parl panel, told they must follow new IT rules, court orders

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New Delhi, Jan 29 (PTI) Facebook and Google representatives Tuesday deposed before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology over the issue of social media misuse, with sources saying they were told to comply with the new IT rules, government instructions and court orders.

The panel, chaired by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, had asked them to appear in-person at the parliament secretariat here.

While from Facebook its country public policy director Shivnath Thukral and general counsel Namrata Singh deposed before the panel, Google was represented by its country head (government affairs and public policy) Aman Jain and director (legal) Gitanjali Duggal. The agenda of the parliamentary panel meeting was to safeguard citizens' rights and prevent the misuse of social/online news media platforms.

The sources also said the representatives were conveyed that there are loopholes in their existing data protection and privacy policy mechanism, and were asked to put in place stringent safeguards to protect data privacy and data security of their users.

The sources said that Chairman Tharoor expressed concern about the privacy of women users of social media platforms. He said he has also received complaints from several women MPs in this regard.

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.

The Parliamentary Committee on IT will also summon representatives of YouTube and other Social Media Intermediaries in the coming weeks over the issue.

Facebook and Google representatives were called days after Twitter officials deposed before the panel.

In the last meeting, several members of the panel had categorically told Twitter that the rule of land is supreme not the social media platform's policies. PTI JTR TIR TIR

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