Parliamentary panel seeks Twitter's reply on locking accounts of Prasad, Tharoor within two days

NEW DELHI: A parliamentary panel has sought Twitter’s response on the recent locking of the accounts of Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, sources said on Tuesday.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information and Technology has sent a letter to Twitter seeking its response within two days, sources said.

The panel was instructed by its chairman Tharoor to seek reply from Twitter on the blocking of accounts of Prasad and others on its platform, sources said.

Last week, Twitter had blocked Union Information and Technology Minister Prasad from accessing his account which ratcheted up tensions with the government as it came under renewed attack for not following local laws.

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Twitter denied Prasad access to his account ‘@rsprasad’ for almost an hour on the grounds that he violated the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, but the minister said the microblogging platform violated new IT rules that require intermediary or a host of user content to give prior notice before locking access.

The IT Minister called out Twitter over the brazen arbitrariness and running its “own agenda”.

Soon after Prasad flagged the issue, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor tweeted that he too had faced something similar.

“Raviji, the same thing just happened to me. Clearly DMCA is getting hyperactive.

This tweet has been deleted by @Twitter because its video includes the copyrighted BoneyM song ‘Rasputin’,” Tharoor tweeted.

Tharoor further said: “As Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, I can state that we will be seeking an explanation from @TwitterIndia for the locking of @rsprasad’s & my accounts & the rules & procedures they follow while operating in India”.

Prasad lashed out at Twitter, and in a series of posts on rival social media platform Koo said it was apparent that his statements calling out the “high handedness and arbitrary actions” of Twitter, had ruffled feathers.