Facebook, Google officials summoned on June 29 by Shashi Tharoor-led Parliamentary committee on IT

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology has summoned the officials of Facebook India and Google India on Tuesday to discuss the issue of safeguarding citizens' rights and preventing the misuse of social online news media platforms, reported news agency ANI.

The Committee, which is headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, has called the representatives of the two IT giants to register their views on the matter.

Earlier on June 18, the Committee had called Twitter to appear before the panel to give representation on how to prevent misuse of social media and online news.

During the meeting, the Parliamentary panel told Twitter that law of the land is "supreme" and asked the company to abide by them. They also asked Twitter to explain why it should not be fined for 'violating' rule of land, reported news agency PTI.

“We appreciate the opportunity to share our views before Standing Committee on IT. Twitter stands prepared to work with the Committee on important work of safeguarding citizens' rights online in line with our principles of transparency, freedom of expression, and privacy," Twitter spokesperson said after the meeting, as per ANI report.

"We will also continue working alongside the Indian Government as part of our shared commitment to serve and protect the public conversation," the spokesperson also said.

The Central government has framed the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 ('new IT Rules') and notified the same on February 25, 2021. The Rules have come into effect from May 26, 2021.

The new IT rules for social media companies that came into effect last month mandate large platforms like Facebook and Twitter to undertake greater due diligence and make these digital platforms more accountable and responsible for the content hosted by them.

The rules also require significant social media intermediaries -- providing services primarily in the nature of messaging -- to enable identification of the "first originator" of the information that undermines the sovereignty of India, the security of the state, or public order.

Under the rules, significant social media intermediaries -- those with over 50 lakh users -- are required to appoint a grievance officer, a nodal officer and a chief compliance officer. These personnel have to be residents in India.

Further, social media companies will have to take down flagged content within 36 hours, and remove within 24 hours content that is flagged for issues such as nudity and pornography.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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