India will not allow abuse of data to influence elections: Prasad

NEW DELHI: Social media platforms are welcome to do business in India, which celebrates freedom of ideas, but New Delhi will not tolerate any abuse of data to influence elections nor allow data imperialism, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Monday.

The comments come at a time when the social media platforms have come under Government scrutiny over privacy concerns and potential for their misuse ahead of general elections slated to be held by May.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology has summoned Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram officials on March 6, even as it held a three-and-a half-hour long meeting with Global Vice President of Public Policy for Twitter on Monday on the issue of safeguarding citizen rights on social/online news media platforms.

Refusing to be drawn into a discussion on parliamentary panel’s ongoing deliberations with social media companies, Prasad said, “All social media platforms are welcome to do business in India because India offers a big, digital and commercial opportunity…India appreciates, acknowledges and respects freedom of ideas on social media but any abuse of data of Indians to influence elections will not be accepted.”

Prasad was speaking at Rising India Summit. (AGENCIES)