Indian lawmakers summon Facebook officials over the rights of the citizens protection

MUMBAI (Reuters) – An Indian parliamentary panel has summoned representatives from Facebook Inc., the messaging services WhatsApp and photo-sharing app Instagram in order to appear for the beginning of the following month and discuss how to protect the rights of citizens on social media.

FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of the mobile users are displayed next to a screen projection of Facebook logo in this photo illustration March 28, 2018. REUTERS/dado Ruvic/File Photo

Social media in the largest democracy in the world has become a hotbed for the circulation of fake political news and tech companies face intense scrutiny prior to a general election before May, where Prime minister Narendra Modi will seek a second term. [nL3N20G1WM]

In a circular late on Thursday, the parliamentary committee on information technology, which is chaired by Anurag Thakur, a legislator from Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata y, said it would hear the views of the officials of Facebook and its units, on 6 March.

The subject would be “the protection of the rights of citizens on social or online media platforms,” it added.

It was not immediately clear whether the panel had asked Indian or global executives of the three companies to appear.

Facebook declined to comment, while WhatsApp and Instagram not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The panel has previously called on social network Twitter Inc. ‘ s Chief Executive Jack Dorsey to appear on Monday to discuss about the same topic. [nL3N2062MG]

“These issues are for all the Internet services, throughout the world,” Twitter said on Friday, adding that Colin Crowell, the global vice president of public policy, is to meet the panel on Monday.

Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter have revised policy to provide more transparency before the general election and rein in misinformation.

Alphabet Inc Google this week launched a programme to train journalists in the field of online authentication and verification of facts before the polls.

Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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