The Centre issued a notice to microblogging platform Twitter on Saturday, requesting that it comply with the new IT rules, which were to be implemented by May 26. According to the government, this is Twitter’s final chance. While this “last notice” is related to the IT rules that all social media intermediaries operating in India must follow, the Twitter versus government saga has been ongoing for quite some time, and several central ministers have opened accounts on Koo, an Indian microblogging platform.
Here are ten things you should know about the ongoing government versus Twitter debate.
1. After a farmers’ rally in Delhi turned violent on Republic Day, the government asked Twitter to take action against some accounts, but Twitter did not respond quickly. It later complied, but only partially, after the “damage had been done.”
2. The government expressed dissatisfaction with the toolkit shared by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. According to the Centre, Twitter is being abused to plan string social media campaigns to sow discord and unrest in India.
3. Twitter incorrectly identified certain areas of Ladakh as being in China, and it took several days to correct the error, according to a recent statement from the IT ministry. “Twitter chose to show the geo-location of certain locations in Union Territory of Ladakh as part of the People’s Republic of China at a time when India and China were engaged in the peaceful resolution of border-related issues through bilateral dialogue,” the statement says.
4. The government has also accused Twitter of encouraging vaccine scepticism. “Twitter’s lack of responsibility has resulted in a flood of fake and harmful content directed at India and Indians. Vaccine hesitancy has been widely promoted through the use of the Twitter platform, but Twitter has taken no action. Is this a commitment to the Indian people? “According to the IT ministry.
5. According to the government, Twitter took no action against posts that “maliciously” referred to the B.1.617 mutant as an Indian variant.
6. Twitter recently flagged some posts by a BJP spokesperson as “manipulated media.” In this regard, the Delhi Police Special Cell paid a visit to the Twitter office.
7. Twitter has expressed concern about the safety of its employees in India. “Right now, we are concerned about recent events involving our employees in India and the potential threat to the people we serve’s freedom of expression,” it said.
8. Twitter also stated that the new IT rules contain elements that may stifle free speech. It stated that it intends to “advocate for changes to elements of these regulations that inhibit free, open public discourse.”
9. In response, the government stated that the platform must follow the rules, which were finalised after extensive consultations with all stakeholders.
10. In India, Twitter has appointed an interim grievance redressal officer. The new IT rules made this one of the mandatory provisions.
Meanwhile, Twitter removed the blue tick from the personal accounts of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat and a number of other RSS leaders on Saturday.