The Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir, led by Shehryar Afridi questioned Twitter’s regional head, George Salama over the biased policies of the social media platform. Shehryar Afridi called out the platform for having “double standards”. Although the hearing was specifically regarding Twitter’s policies regarding tweets and content coming from the Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), the concerns raised there are concerns that users in Afghanistan and Pakistan share too.
When questioned about the dual-sided policies, Salama said that Twitter is a platform that values free speech, however, even then they discourage hate speech and ensure that minorities are not suppressed. He was then questioned about hate speech that Pakistani users face, to which he responded that freedom of expression is a key tenet of the platform. Salama further added that legitimate accounts have always been allowed to raise their voices using the platform and that Twitter would gladly organize workshops that can teach local activists about the policies and regulations of Twitter.
Salama was then brought under fire, particularly from Afridi, who claimed that agents have been known to post tweets “aimed at inciting hate and violence”, without having to face any repercussions. Additionally, in support of his argument against Twitter’s policies being fairly implemented, he said that there had been instances during his tenure where foreign agents were posting 80 tweets per minute”.
In response to all the concerns raised, Salama said that Twitter has been working in close collaboration with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, to improve the user experience in the region and ensure that no ser feels discriminated against.