Comply with Indian laws, Government tells Twitter
The government drew attention to Twitter’s differential treatment in the Red Fort and Capitol Hill incidents
The Indian government has directed Twitter to remove Tweets and accounts using hashtags related to ‘farmer genocide’ and accounts supported by Khalistan sympathizers and backed by Pakistan and the blog post shared by Twitter on Wednesday. It has said that Twitter must comply with the Indian laws.
A meeting was held between Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Ajay Prakash Sawhney and Vice President Global Public Policy Monique Meche, and Deputy General Counsel and Vice President Legal Jim Baker.
Taking up the issue of using a hashtag on ‘farmer genocide’, the Secretary expressed strong displeasure on the way Twitter acted after an emergency order was issued to remove this hashtag and content related to that, an official statement issued after the meeting said.
Spreading misinformation using an incendiary and baseless hashtag referring to ‘farmer genocide’ at a time when such irresponsible content can provoke and inflame the situation is neither journalistic freedom nor freedom of expression as envisaged under Article 19 of the Constitution of India, he said.
The meeting follows a blog post by Twitter, where it said it had withheld “a portion of the accounts identified in the blocking orders given by the government”. It, however, added that no action had been taken against the accounts of news media entities, journalists, activists, and politicians. “
It was extremely unfortunate that despite the attention of Twitter being drawn to such content, the platform did not behave responsibly, the MeitY statement said.
Further, the Secretary reminded Twitter about the action taken by it during the Capitol Hill episode in the USA and compared that with the disturbance in Red Fort in India and its aftermath. He expressed dissatisfaction over Twitter’s differential treatment in the two incidents.
“A deep sense of disappointment at seeing Twitter side not with ‘freedom of expression’ but rather with those who seek to abuse such freedom and provoke disturbance to public order, was conveyed to the Twitter representative,” the official statement read.
The Secretary expressed his deep disappointment to Twitter leadership about how Twitter has unwillingly, grudgingly, and with great delay complied with the substantial parts of the order.
He took this opportunity to remind Twitter that in India, its Constitution and laws are supreme. It is expected that responsible entities not only reaffirm but remain committed to compliance with the law of land.
The government conveyed to the Twitter leadership that how Twitter officially allows fake, unverified, anonymous, and automated bot accounts to be operated on its platform, raises doubts about its commitment to transparency and healthy conversation on this platform.
According to the statement, Twitter leadership affirmed their commitment towards following Indian laws and rules. They also expressed their continuing commitment to building their services in India. They have also requested better engagement between the government of India and Twitter’s global team.