Make real identities must, house panel tells Twitter

NEW DELHI: The parliamentary standing committee for empowerment of women on Wednesday asked representatives from Twitter to reduce anonymity on the social media platform, and proactively remove abusive content from it.

According to those present in the meeting, the company was specifically asked to consider making the entry of only persons over the age of 15 on twitter and also take reports of abuse on the platform very seriously. “We said that now even if abusive accounts are suspended they make a comeback in a few days. Or the same person starts another account,” a participant said. Another suggestion was to intensify the process of verification to ensure only real people had accounts. “Anonymity on twitter only furthers harassment of women. We asked them what they can do about that,” another MP said.

The panel headed by BJP MP Heena Gavit has 20 other members. “We also suggested the platform should have contextual words that are used to abuse women that can be removed as soon as they are posted. This will make women feel safer,” another participant said. The member said the issue of fake news was also discussed. “Rumours, insults and wrong news about women also spread faster. There is often an organised effort at this which should be checked,” the member said.

The members said the representatives told them about the measures the company has taken to empower people, and women particularly with tools to mute, block and report abusive behaviour. “They said they were working with experts and were open to suggestions to making their platform better,” an MP said. The panel will meet representatives from Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp on Thursday.