India Arms Twists Twitter Over Farmer Defamation Propaganda
The Centre has shown some violent outburst against US social media giant Twitter as it threatened to arrest and penal action. In response, the CEO of Twitter has expressed solidarity towards its own and reassured India of cooperation. In a formal statement, a company spokesperson has said that “Twitter places its employees’ safety as its topmost priority and believes that for the sake of the world’s desire to be informed, information via Twitter should continue to flow.”
The Centre threatened Twitter over violation of the IT Act for non-compliance with the government’s order under Section 69A (3). It has been asking Twitter to block some 1000 and more accounts that have been spreading defamatory news against the Centre supporting the farmers’ protest in India.
Adding onto its need to safeguard the interest of its users, Twitter’s spokesperson has responded to the IT Ministry in saying that “We strongly believe that the open and free exchange of information has a positive global impact and that the Tweets must continue to flow.” Under the scanner are all those accounts that have Khalistani antecedents or Pakistan’s backing. Between January 31 and February 04, the IT Ministry has been sending off directives to Twitter asking for certain accounts and bot chats too, to be blocked.
While Twitter deactivated briefly, they were put back into action later. A few days ago, Twitter global CEO Jack Dorsey had “liked” several tweets made by foreign-based celebrities in support of farmer protests, sources said. In view of this, the platform’s defiance of the government’s order to block the accounts raises several questions.
On its part, Twitter is seeking a formal dialogue with the IT Ministry and has also released another statement explaining its process of blocking or withholding content online. Twitter has said that when it gets a request for blocking a particular handle, it reviews the handle both from the perspective of its rules and local rules. If the handle or its information violates Twitter rules, its content is brought down. If it is determined to be illegal in a particular jurisdiction, but not in violation of the Twitter rules, Twitter might choose to withhold access to the content in the location only. At the end of the day, ‘principles of free expression are protected at all costs.’