As Twitter continues to disrespect Indian laws by refusing to follow orders passed by an elected government, the central government is mulling to take strict against the top Twitter executives in the country.
According to sources, the micro-blogging site’s top Twitter executives may face arrest if Twitter fails to follow Indian laws. The centre has made it clear that Twitter has to remove anti-India and Khalistani accounts, especially those accounts that posted hate speech on the platform.
The government has warned the tech-giant that its patience was wearing out over the company’s refusal to follow the rules under Section 69A of the IT Act.
However, the US-based micro-blogging giant has repeatedly flouted the rules and has failed to take any action against the anti-India accounts that incited violence. Citing free speech, Twitter had categorised some of these accounts as ‘activists’, journalists’, ‘media’ and had absolved its act of crime.
Brazening it out, Twitter had said that the orders issued by the government were not inconsistent with Indian laws. Challenging the Indian government, Twitter had refused to take down anti-India accounts and had added that other accounts that are being suspended would only apply to India.
Twitter fails to comply even after stern warning
Following Twitter’s refusal to comply, the Indian government had taken a strong view and had issued a statement on the newly developed Indian app ‘Koo’. It is being reported that senior executives of the Twitter met with the officials of the Indian government to discuss the issue and said that they are unwilling to take action against any of those anti-Indian accounts.
During a meeting with Twitter executives Monique Meche and Jim Baker on Wednesday, Union IT secretary Ajay Prakash Sawhney has made it clear that the use of the controversial hashtag was neither journalistic freedom nor freedom of expression. He also expressed his displeasure over differential treatment by Twitter in its handling of the problems on Capitol Hill and Red Fort.
The US micro-blogging giant may approach the courts if the government considers taking any action. The government insists that Twitter follow the orders and that banning of anti-India accounts is not a subject matter of negotiation.
Twitter supports anti-India accounts, promote hate speech
The ongoing tussle between the Indian government and social media giant Twitter started after the platform failed to act against anti-India accounts that spewed venom against India during the so-called ‘farmer’ protests.
The centre had issued a new notice to social media giant Twitter directing it to block 1,178 accounts from Pakistan peddling Khalistani secessionism during the protests. This was an addition to the government’s earlier notice asking them to ban 257 anti-India social media accounts for making hate speech.
The misuse of the social media platform for spreading anti-India propaganda, provocative content and misinformation had irked the Union government. The government believes that the said Twitter accounts have the potential to cause a threat to public order.
However, Twitter showed its reluctance to comply with the central government’s notice under Section 69A of the IT Act. The social media site has banned only a handful of 1,400 handles, and Twitter said it would not be taking action against any media, journalists, activists, and politicians despite the government’s notice.
We have withheld some of the accounts identified in the blocking orders under our Country Withheld Content policy within India only. These accounts continue to be available outside of India. https://t.co/uQuXNtzq9t— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) February 10, 2021
Referring to some handles as ‘newsworthy’, the social media platform brazened out by saying that this Twitter handles will only be blocked within India and would not include the handles of journalists, media entities, activists and politicians.
Twitter also claimed that they did not believe that the actions they have been directed to take are consistent with Indian law. They said that keeping with their ‘principles of defending protected speech and freedom of expression’ and will not take any action on accounts that consist of news media entities, journalists, activists, and politicians.