Kunal Kamra
Kunal Kamra
File Photo

The central government has sought a reply from Twitter within a week on why it has not yet taken action against the "offensive tweets" by stand-up comic Kunal Kamra which targeted Chief Justice of India and the Supreme Court.

A Joint Committee for Personal Data Protection Bill on Thursday questioned representatives from Twitter on the matter, Meenakshi Lekhi, Chairperson of the parliamentary panel said.

"We wanted to know the policy of Twitter regarding which handles are promoted and which handles are suppressed, and how the social media giant judges inflammatory content," Lekhi said.

The BJP MP said that Twitter in its response said that the "inappropriate language and actions" are suppressed, and blocked.

"Then we asked them about the tweet of Kunal Karma tweet on CJI Bobde and why it was not removed. In response, Twitter said that the post cannot be removed unless the court issues such orders," said Lekhi.

She added that as the decision-making authorities of the social media giant do not operate from India, the committee has asked the top executives of the service provider to respond to the questions raised by the committee within seven days.

"They want the court's permission in this case, and the rest of the handles they blocked, they did not need the court's permission for that. They block the things they want and let others stay. We asked them if they are publishers or distributors of news. What are their role and legal rights? CJI is not just a person, he is a constitutional authority, and if somebody makes a joke of that constitutional authority then it's not good for the country. We have seen this repeatedly, and it shows how these platforms are being misused," Lekhi said further.

The chairperson of Joint Committee for Personal Data Protection Bill alleged that the committee has doubts about algorithmic and physical manipulation done on the social media giant.

"When a tweet defaming the CJI gets 30-35 thousand likes, it shows that the whole nation thinks like that, which is not the reality. We have doubts that somebody is physically and algorithmically manipulating the data... If any company wants to do business in some country, they have to abide by the rules of the host country. Defaming the constitutional authorities is not part of our culture," she stated.

Lekhi further added that though the Joint Committee for Personal Data Protection Bill constitutes members from different political parties with different ideologies, and despite that most members were on the same page during the discussion on Kamra's tweet.

Twitter recently apologised for incorrectly geo-tagging Ladakh as a part of China and has promised the panel that it will be corrected by November 30.

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