June 21, 2024

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Amid row with Twitter, Prasad says social media firms must abide by our law

Social media platforms are absolutely free to do business in India, but must respect the law of the land, Union Minister for Electronics and Details Technological innovation (MeitY) Ravi Shankar Prasad said in Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

His responses come a working day following two of Twitter’s world-wide executives held a digital meeting with the MeitY secretary and other officers concerning the standoff concerning the two sides on written content takedown requests.

“We flagged Twitter…why is it that (on) Washington Capitol Hill when ransacking happens and the police has to choose motion, these microblogging organizations stand with them, but when an assault happens on the Purple Fort below, which is a symbol of India’s pleasure, they stand in opposition to it. This double regular will not operate…Freedom of expression exists in the Indian Structure, but Post 19(2) also states it is subject to fair constraints…what is the that means of trending hashtags like Narendra Modi is massacring farmers? We will be really demanding,” Prasad said.

He was referring to the hashtag #ModiPlanningFarm­erGenocide that was trending on Twitter close to January 30. MeitY questioned the company to choose down and block sure acco­unts tweeting that hashtag.

Twitter took motion on hundreds of accounts that violated Twitter Guidelines and had the prospective to incite offline damage, prevented some phrases from trending and suspended about 500 accounts. Nevertheless, it did not entirely comply with MeitY’s orders.

In the Capitol Hill riots that broke out in the US on January six, Twitter stopped the phrase “Hang Mike Pence” following it trended on the social media system. The phrase was heard at the US Capitol and trended following Twitter forever banned previous US president Donald Trump’s account for inciting the riot.

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MeitY also subsequently questioned Twitter to block 1,two hundred more accounts flagged by safety organizations as belonging to Khalistan sympathisers or backed by Pakistan.

In a blog put up on Wednesday, Twitter said two of these were being emergency blocking orders that the company quickly complied with, but subsequently restored entry to the written content in a method that it believed was regular with Indian law. “After we communicated this to MeitY, we were being served with a non-compliance observe,” the blog put up by Twitter Safety said.

The blog additional that in preserving with its concepts of defending independence of expression, it had not taken any motion on accounts that consist of information media entities, journalists, activists, and politicians. “To do so, we feel, would violate their basic proper to absolutely free expression underneath Indian law. We informed MeitY of our enforcement steps today, February 10, 2021. We will go on to maintain dialogue with the Indian federal government and respectfully interact with them,” Twitter said.

The federal government said Wednesday in a strongly worded statement that ‘’lawfully handed orders are binding on any business entity’’. The minister also said on Thursday that any social media company’s individual rules were being not above Indian law.

“We respect social media a large amount,” said Prasad in Parliament on Thursday. “Social media has empowered people today, had a big function in Digital India programme. We also assistance the proper to criticism, you can criticise any one from the Prime Minister to the Structure, since it is a part of our Structure. But misuse of social media for violence, bogus information…will invite motion, I want to say with a large amount of modesty,” he additional.

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