Twitter apologises to India parliament panel for China geo-tagging error

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Social media giant Twitter Inc has apologised to an Indian parliamentary panel for showing a northern Himalayan region as part of China, promising to make corrections by month-end, the panel’s chief said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: The Twitter logo is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Twitter’s chief privacy officer, Damien Kieran, sent an apology letter to the Joint Committee on the Personal Data Protection Bill after the company geo-tagged India’s northern territory of Ladakh as being in neighbouring China, the panel’s head Meenakashi Lekhi told Reuters.

“They have apologised in writing for hurting the feelings of Indians,” said Lekhi, also a lawmaker from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“We are committed to protecting assets of India - both physically and digitally”.

Twitter has assured the panel that the matter will be resolved by Nov. 30, she added.

Twitter executives last month appeared before the panel to explain the error, with Lekhi accusing the company of disrespecting India’s sovereignty.

The mistake came to light after some Twitter users tagged their posts as being in Ladakh but the geo-tag showed their location in China.

Twitter at the time said the mistake had been quickly fixed.

Nuclear-armed India and China fought a brief but bloody border war in 1962, and are currently locked in a months-long military standoff along their contested Himalayan border that includes the region of Ladakh.

The territory is claimed in full by arch rivals India and Pakistan, while China claims a portion in the east known as the Aksai Chin.

Indian lawmakers and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government have been at odds with U.S. tech giants.

Lekhi last month criticized Amazon, threatening coercive action against the e-commerce giant after it failed to appear before her panel, while Facebook has been questioned by another parliament panel over its content regulation practices.

Reporting by Aditya Kalra; Writing by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by Bernadette Baum