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Meenakshi Lekhi: Twitter apologized for “Ladakh in China” mistake | India News


NEW DELHI: Social media giant Twitter apologized in writing to a key parliamentary panel for incorrectly portraying Ladakh in China and promised to correct the mistake by the end of the month, committee chair Meenakshi Lekhi said on Wednesday.
Twitter’s statement came in the form of an affidavit signed by Damien Karien, chief privacy officer for Twitter Inc, for the mis-geo-tagging of the map of India, Lekhi told PTI.
Last month, the Parliament’s Joint Committee on Data Protection bill had strongly criticized Twitter for depicting Ladakh as part of China, saying it amounted to treason and had sought an explanation from the father of the social media platform with US headquarters in the form of an affidavit.
When appearing before the panel, chaired by Lekhi, representatives of Twitter India had “apologized”, but the members told them that it was a crime that called into question the sovereignty of the country and Twitter Inc must present an affidavit, not for his’ marketing arm ‘Twitter India.
“Twitter has now given us a written apology in an affidavit for the Ladakh exhibition in China,” Lekhi said.
“They have apologized for hurting the feelings of the Indians and have sworn to correct the error before November 30, 2020,” he added.
Twitter came under heavy criticism and faced backlash from social media users after its geotagging feature featured “Jammu and Kashmir, the People’s Republic of China” in a live broadcast from the Hall of Fame. Leh, a memorial to fallen soldiers in the Union Territory of Ladakh.
On October 22, the Indian government warned Twitter about the location settings showing Leh in China, saying that any disrespect for the country’s sovereignty and integrity is totally unacceptable.
In a strongly worded letter, Ajay Sawhney, secretary of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), asked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to respect the country’s sensitivities, ministry sources said.
At the time, Twitter had labeled it a glitch that had been quickly resolved.
In its affidavit filed with the parliamentary panel, Twitter is believed to have said the problem was “caused by a software bug combined with imperfect data that resulted in an incorrect geotag.”
“In recent weeks, we have worked to solve the problem of geotags in a way where Leh, as well as other cities in the Union of Ladakh territory, will now be accurately displayed with the name of the city, the respective state and country.
“In addition to this, we are also reviewing the geo-tag for several other cities in Jammu and Kashmir. This work is already in progress and we are targeting November 30, 2020 to complete this exercise,” he added.
Twitter further said it wanted to reiterate that India was a priority market and was committed to partnering with the Government of India and MeitY to serve the public conversation and communities on the microblogging site.
“Our team in India will continue to engage with the ministry for any follow-up discussions. We would also like to apologize for any feelings that have been hurt due to this mistake,” he added.
On October 28, representatives of Twitter in India were questioned for more than two hours by panel members, mainly about Ladakh shown as part of China in the Twitter application.
“The committee was of the unanimous opinion that Twitter’s explanation of showing Ladakh as part of China was inadequate,” Lekhi said after the meeting.
Twitter was also asked about its ban policy, while some members also raised questions about Twitter’s transparency policy and its actions during the elections, especially in relation to its policies in other countries.

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