Twitter

Introduction

  • Twitter being a popular social media platform, needs no introduction. From following your favorite film stars to posting a political opinion to commenting on other users’ photos, you can use the app for its various features. However, Twitter is known to abruptly remove content, and even promote content that the Government of India doesn’t seem to like.
  •  If you are a regular user of Twitter, you must be interested to know about the current dispute that is going on between Twitter and the Indian Government.
  •  In this post, we will be covering everything you need to know about Twitter’s issue with the Government of India.

 Everything you need to know about Twitter’s issue with the Government of India

Twitter’s dispute with the Indian Government is doing rounds in the news cycle these days. But when did it all start? It all started in February when the Indian Government came up with a list of rules to be followed by social media platforms, and online news channels. What are the rules about? Being called the Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code, these rules have made it legally mandatory for social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to put a check on speech, establish a compliance team in India, and remove any content as and when asked by the Government.

These rules have not had a wide acceptance with many experts claiming they threaten people’s democratic rights including freedom of speech.

The Government of India has been extremely vocal about its criticisms against Twitter as it does not approve of Twitter as a platform for negative views, and criticisms and official announcements all at the same time.

What happened in February that has acted as a trigger to the war between Twitter and the Indian Government? Indian Government had asked Twitter to remove accounts fuelling criticisms against the Government on the issue of “farmers’ protests” in India. Twitter India had initially refused but soon had to oblige as its local employees were threatened to be imprisoned. Twitter had strongly reacted to this by saying that what they were asked to do didn’t go with the law of the land (India).

What more? In the month of February itself, the head of the social media platform too “liked” tweets in support of the then-ongoing farmers’ protests in India.

The issue intensified as the rules came into effect from May 26 onwards. The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India sent a letter to Twitter as the latter failed to comply with the new list of rules. The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has clearly stated in its letter that the failure of Twitter to comply with the rules reflects poorly on its commitment to Indian people’s safety.

In the month of May itself, Twitter had marked tweets of many BJP leaders as “manipulated media” as the BJP spokesperson had shared screenshots termed as “Congress toolkit”, that criticized the way PM Modi and the center had handled the COVID situation.

On May 25, Twitter offices were raided by the Delhi Government and a notice was also served in relation to the above-mentioned “Congress toolkit” case.

How did Twitter react? Twitter showed its strong reaction by taking off the blue-colored badges from the verified accounts of the Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu, and some of the RSS officials. Twitter came up with a justification explaining how it can take off the badges from inactive and incomplete accounts, and the Vice President’s account apparently had been inactive since July 2020. Twitter later restored the badge.

Twitter’s dig at the Indian Government for its “undemocratic laws” was reciprocated when the Indian Government alleged that the social media platform had tried to disregard the laws of the land and continue with its shady policies of randomly suspending accounts and removing tweets.

Other allegations have also been leveled against Twitter by the Government of India, including some areas occupied by Pakistan not being shown as part of India and child pornography being posted on the platform. The Government of India has filed an affidavit in the Delhi High Court against Twitter for not complying with the newly announced list of IT rules and for no longer being able to stop the law from taking its course.

 Closing

 Since the reach that social media platforms have is vast, all social media platforms including Twitter should ensure they are neutral to any political issue. At the same time, the Government of India should ensure that the fundamental rights of the citizens and media platforms are not taken away. For a democracy to thrive people should be aware of their rights but at the same time, they should not misuse the same.

Follow neutral content on social media platforms

As online users, you should follow content that unites people and not divides them. After all, living in peace and harmony with others should be everyone’s aim.

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