The Twitter iPhone app is loaded in this illustrative photo taken in Los Angeles, California.
Mike Blake | Reuters
I rebuked India Twitter For not immediately complying with government orders to remove certain content and the social media giant has warned that it must follow local laws to operate in the country.
Ajay Sawhney, Secretary to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, met with Twitter’s vice president for global public policy, Monique Miché, and Deputy General Counsel, Jim Baker, on Wednesday.
“The minister expressed his deep disappointment to the Twitter leadership over the way in which Twitter had inadvertently, reluctantly, and with great delay committed itself to essential parts of the matter.” He said in a statement after the meeting.
India has ordered Twitter to remove more than 1,100 accounts and posts it claims are spreading false information about farmers protesting against the new agricultural reforms. Reuters reported.
Last month , Reports stated that protesters clashed with the authoritiesWhich resulted in hundreds of injuries and one death. Local media reported that authorities have brought charges against journalists and a prominent member of the opposition over tweets about the death The Supreme Court has stopped their detention so far.
In a public blog post Before the Wednesday meeting, Twitter said it had partially complied with the orders. Last week, the social media site temporarily blocked some accounts at the request of the government, but said it later restored access “in a way that we believe is in compliance with Indian law.”
The government statement said New Delhi considers the hashtag “farmers’ genocide” incendiary and unfounded, claiming that it was used to spread false information about the protests.
It also described some of the accounts that want to be removed as “supported by the supporters of Khalistan and backed by Pakistan.” The government did not provide specific evidence for these allegations in its statement.
“(Minister Sawney) took this opportunity to remind Twitter that her constitution and laws in India are sovereign. It is expected that the responsible entities will not only affirm but will remain committed to compliance with the law of the land.”
Twitter explained in its blog that it had taken steps to reduce the appearance of hashtags containing malicious content and had suspended more than 500 accounts that were participating in “clear examples of platform manipulation and spam”.
Other accounts specified in government blocking orders are not available in the country but can be accessed from outside India. The company added that it did not believe the measures directed at it were in line with Indian law and refused to restrict the accounts of journalists, activists and politicians.
“In keeping with our principles in defending freedom of expression and freedom of expression, we have not taken any action on accounts made up of news entities, journalists, activists and politicians,” Twitter said in a blog post, adding: Therefore, we believe it will violate their basic right to freedom of expression under Indian law. “.
The Minister of Information Technology told Twitter that he is welcome to do business in India, but that he still has to follow Indian laws regardless of the rules and guidelines of the social media company, according to the government statement.
India is the third largest marketplace on Twitter after the United States and Japan and has over 17 million users there as of January. According to German data company Statista.
The current standoff against the government puts the US company in a bind as it must reconcile defense of the right to free speech of its users with compliance with local laws. Reuters reported that Mahima Cole, India’s chief Twitter lobbyist, has resigned as the company grapples with a mounting PR crisis.
On the other hand, Indian government officials are promoting A homemade Twitter alternative called Koo App And local media reported a An increase in the number of users on this site. The Ministry of Information Technology promoted its own account on the new Twitter platform.