India

Twitter Defence Inadequate: MPs' Panel On Leh In China Location Settings

Twitter Defence Inadequate: MPs' Panel On Leh In China Location Settings

Twitter India officials were questioned by the parliamentary Joint Committee.

Highlights

  • "Showing Ladakh as China's part amounts to criminal offence": Panel
  • BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi is the panel's chief
  • Government had earlier expressed its disapproval
New Delhi:

Twitter's explanation for showing Ladakh as a part of China is "inadequate" for what amounts to a criminal offence, a panel of MPs said today after questioning officials of the microblogging site.

Twitter India officials were questioned by the parliamentary Joint Committee examining the Personal Data Protection Bill after outrage over the social media platform's location settings showing Leh as part of China.

The Committee was unanimous in its opinion that Twitter's explanation was inadequate, the panel's chairman Meenakshi Lekhi told.

"Showing Ladakh as part of China amounts to a criminal offence which can attract jail for up to seven years," the BJP MP said.

Twitter officials told the committee that the platform respects the sensitivities of India on this issue, Ms Lekhi said, adding, "But this is inadequate. It is not just a question of sensitivity. It is against the sovereignty and integrity of India."

There was anger after the geo-location of Leh, which is the headquarters of the union territory of Ladakh, was shown on Twitter as part of China. Leh is the largest town in Ladakh.

A Twitter spokesperson said on the meeting: "The recent geo tagging issue was swiftly resolved by our teams. We are committed to openness, transparency around our work and will remain in regular touch with the government to share timely updates."

Earlier, the government had sternly told Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey that Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir are "integral and inalienable parts of India governed by the Constitution of India".

The government expressed its disapproval of the "misrepresentation of map of India" and asked the company to "respect sensitivities of Indian citizens", according to sources.

The government, sources added, conveyed to Twitter that any attempt by the social media giant to "disrespect sovereignty and integrity of India, which is also reflected by the maps, is totally unacceptable" and "unlawful".

"Such attempts not only bring disrepute to Twitter but also raise questions about its neutrality and fairness as an intermediary," IT Secretary Ajay Sawhney had said in the letter.