Honorable Members of the Parliamentary Committee,
With a very heavy heart, I am writing this email to you regarding the biased policies of one of the micro-blogging website operational in India & arrogance of its CEO, Mr Jack Dorsey.
Recent media reports suggest that Twitter Officials have declined an invitation to appear before the Parliamentary panel on 11th February. In the capacity of a citizen in the world’s largest democracy, it gives me immense agony to note that Twitter has not only offended the lawmakers but also the 1.3 billion people of India who have democratically mandated the Parliament to constitute such committees.
Twitter has in the past admitted of having political biases. None less than its CEO in an interview with a foreign media house had confirmed the same. You may also please take a note that last year Jack Dorsey on his visit to India had posed with a poster which read ‘Smash Brahmanical Patriarchy’. There were widespread protests and it is believed that this statement had the potential to spark riots all over the country.
Even after massive condemnation of holding this hate poster from all quarters, Twitter CEO in his arrogance had not deemed fit to respond, leave alone apologizing for his behavior. In ‘Hatching Twitter’, a book on early days of Twitter, Dorsey has been labelled as pompous manager who took credit for everything and handled criticism poorly. It is due to these reasons Dorsey was fired in 2008 and was not reinstated before 2015.
Twitter has been in the past hauled before US Congress over data privacy concerns. They have also been specifically grilled about the foreign influence on operations and their use of the platform. Its a norm in US to broadcast such proceedings live. Over the course of such hearings, the US House Energy and Commerce Committee reviewed whether Dorsey provided fake testimony about arbitrarily censoring content on the site.
Back here in India, Twitter has been accused to shadow ban, suspend and lock accounts at will. There is substantial proof in the public domain that Twitter has indulged in this arbitrary behavior even when there have been no provocations, abuse or breach of any policies. It is unfortunate that the site that once claimed to be a champion of free speech is now being seen as biased and regularly strangulates accounts belonging to one side of the political spectrum.
It is most despicable that when the Honorable members of the Parliamentary Committee have now summoned Dorsey and Senior officials over the issue of safeguarding citizen rights, this invitation has been declined and the mandate given to the institution of Parliament by the people of this country has been defied with impunity.
India is one of the biggest market for Twitter and this open defiance by them should invite suitable action. It is with this perspective that the following steps are advised to the committee.
1. A new deadline to appear be set and proceedings to be broadcasted Live.
2. In case of no show, the license to run targeted advertisements by the company should be revoked.
3. Next, introduction of an ISP level non compliance throttle.
4. Full website censorship until Twitter doesn’t learn to respect the democratic institutions of this country.
5. Full revocation of the license granted to Twitter India as per the laws of the land.
We hope that Dorsey’s Twitter do not drown in the pool of hubris & not take a decision devoid of any logic and sensibilities.
Thank you for patiently reading and giving common citizens a voice to express.