Twitter on Thursday, tendered a verbal apology before India’s joint parliamentary committee on personal data protection, days after its location tag in a live broadcast showed Leh, Jammu and Kashmir as part of China. The Parliamentary panel showed strong displeasure over the geotagging issue and asked Twitter to tender a written apology and submit an affidavit in the matter.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) also wrote a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey reminding him that Leh is the headquarter of Ladakh and that both Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir are ‘integral and inalienable parts of India, governed by the Constitution of India’. Secretary of MeitY, Ajay Sawhney, in his letter, asked the micro-blogging site to respect the sensitivities of Indian citizens and cautioned him that any attempt that would disrespect the sovereignty and integrity of India, is totally unacceptable and unlawful. He further raised questions about Twitter’s neutrality and fairness as an intermediary.
It is to be noted that Twitter came under scrutiny after Security Analyst Nitin Gokhale who was live on Twitter near Leh airport, noticed that his location was displayed as ‘Jammu and Kashmir, People’s Republic of China’. Observer Research Foundation (ORF) chairman Kanchan Gupta speaking to Twitter India, also stated that it was not an ‘isolated incident’, but that several netizens who were logging online faced the same issue.
Twitter’s spokesperson issued a statement saying that they were aware of the sensitivities around the issue of Kashmir and asserted that the teams are investigating to resolve the concerned geo-tagging issue. “We became aware of this technical issue on Sunday, & understand & respect the sensitivities around it. Teams have worked swiftly to investigate & resolve the concerned geotag issue.” It also said that they remain committed to working with the Government of India and that they respect the sensitivities involved.