The government on Thursday came down heavily on Twitter and accused it of undermining the country’s laws which aim at giving it immunity from criminal liability. In a statement, the ministry of electronics and IT (MeitY) accused Twitter of attempting to dictate terms to the government.
The government response came just after Twitter criticised the new IT guidelines, calling the Delhi Police’s stop by to its offices earlier for the duration of the week a type of ‘intimidation’ and mentioned it was concerned about the ‘potential threat to freedom of expression’.
Delhi Police personnel had earlier for the duration of the week visited Twitter’s offices in Delhi and Gurgaon. The stop by came just after the web page had tagged some tweets associated to an alleged Congress toolkit used to target the Centre more than its Covid-19 handling as ‘manipulated media’, which the government later asked it to get rid of.
“The only instance of scuttling free speech on Twitter is Twitter itself and its opaque policies, as a result of which people’s accounts are suspended and tweets deleted arbitrarily without recourse,” MeitY mentioned.
In a challenging-hitting reply, the government mentioned safeguarding free of charge speech in India is not the prerogative of “only a private, for-profit, foreign entity like Twitter, but it is the commitment of the world’s largest democracy and its robust institutions”.
The statement also highlighted the point that Twitter representatives in India routinely claim that they have no authority and that they and the people today of India want to escalate every thing to the Twitter headquarters in the US. “The purported commitment of Twitter, to its Indian user base, thus not only sounds hollow but completely self-serving,” it mentioned.
Earlier for the duration of the day, in a statement which was vital of the new intermediary guidelines which came into force from May 26, Twitter mentioned, “Right now, we are concerned by recent events regarding our employees in India and the potential threat to freedom of expression for the people we serve. We, alongside many in civil society in India and around the world, have concerns with regards to the use of intimidation tactics by the police. Twitter is deeply committed to the people of India.”
The microblogging web page also raised issues about the compliance officer becoming made criminally liable for content on the platform, the needs for proactive monitoring and the blanket authority to seek details about its customers. The platform mentioned it represents risky overreach that is inconsistent with open, democratic principles.
Twitter has requested MeitY to publish typical operating protocols on procedural elements of compliance for public consultation and has sought a minimum 3-month extension for implementing the guidelines. “We would also like to reaffirm that Twitter continues to accept grievances from users and law enforcement via our existing grievance redressal channel available here under the new rules,” it mentioned.
This is not the initially time when the government and Twitter have sparred more than content. In February, MeitY had sent a string of letters to the social media platform asking it to get rid of hashtags/accounts/tweets associated to farmers’ protest, which according to the government, had been major to misinformation, obtaining the prospective to generate law and order issues.