Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, during his visit to India in November last year, was seen showing off a tattoo on his left hand to Congress President Rahul Gandhi as he discussed with him some of the steps being taken to sanitize his platform in the country.
Despite the bonhomie and some great snaps during the India visit, the ground reality is that there is no India head at Twitter for a couple of months now as the country faces general election, amid the growing debate over the spread of misinformation, hate, abuse and fake news on various social media platforms, including Twitter.
After Taranjeet Singh, who was elevated as Twitter’s Country Director for India in May 2017, quit the company in September last year, the micro-blogging platform which has over 30 million users in India (according to statista.com), has remained headless.
This at a time when the Indian government has formulated new IT guidelines where social media platforms have to remove within 24 hours any unlawful content that can affect the “sovereignty and integrity of India”. The new rules are open for public comment till January 31.
Is the top job at Twitter India full of unforeseen challenges for traditional CEOs who are unable to work their way around the changing dynamics of social media in the digital age?
“Only native, home-grown young CEOs in their 30s-40s will work as social media heads as only they can understand the changed preferences of the young and the millennial users,” Thomas George, Senior Vice President, and Head-CyberMedia Research & Services Ltd. (CMR), told IANS.
In the last few months, Twitter India has seen several key exits.
Twitter’s Senior Director for Business Development for the Asia Pacific region Arvinder Gujral was moved to Singapore and Anupam Dikhit, Twitter’s Industry Head in India, was also transferred to Singapore, amid others.
“Social media platforms need young, dynamic home-grown leadership to handle the new-age pressures,” George added.
Even as the Twitter CEO was busy meeting top leaders during his India visit, the government pulled up the social network for being “slow” in removing “objectionable content” from its platform.
Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, in his meeting with two top Twitter executives – Vijaya Gadde, Global Head of Legal, Policy, Trust and Safety, and Mahima Kaul, Public Policy head in India – asked them “to ensure a 24×7 mechanism for prompt disposal of requisitions of law enforcement agencies for deletion of unlawful/ objectionable content from their platform”.
According to Dorsey, he came to India to find out where the gaps are.
“One of the reasons why I’m here in the first place is to understand how to do that and understand where the gaps are,” Dorsey had told IANS in an interview.
“India remains a top priority market for us and we’re making sure we understand how people use it here so that we can make it better,” said the 42-year-old who is yet to finalize India’s head.