As micro-blogging site Twitter brazened it out and refused to take action the anti-India and Khalistani accounts, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) on Wednesday said that they are reviewing its earlier decision to meet Twitter officials.
Taking to the India-made Twitter alternate Koo app, the Ministry said that following Twitter’s recent blog, they would soon share its response about the decision to meet the Twitter officials. Earlier, it was reported that some of the Twitter officials were expected to hold meetings with government officials to convey their stand on the issue in light of the ongoing events. However, sources tell OpIndia that Union Minister RS Prasad has refused to meet Twitter officials.
With Twitter coming out with its recent blog saying that it refuses to take action against all the 1,400 accounts listed by the government and instead would let off a few social media accounts of alleged journalists, media houses and other left-wing accounts, the MEITY is now reconsidering the decision to meet the Twitter officials after it disrespected Indian laws by not following the law of the land.
“Upon the request of Twitter seeking a meeting with the Govt., the Secretary IT was to engage with senior management of Twitter. In this light a blog post published prior to this engagement is unusual. Govt. will share its response soon,” posted MEITY through its Koo account.
Interestingly, the Modi government has chosen to issue this particular statement on the relatively new app – ‘Koo’, which itself it is a testament that the government is not happy with the defiance showed by a foreign private entity like Twitter.
Twitter fails to comply with Indian government notice
Earlier this week, the centre had issued a new notice to social media giant Twitter directing it to block 1,178 accounts found to be from Pakistan peddling Khalistani secessionism. 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.
Shockingly, Twitter claimed that the actions being directed towards them by the Modi government were not consistent with the Indian law. The micro-blogging site not only attempted to teach Indian laws to the democratically-elected government but also tried to disrespect Indian laws by failing to comply with orders of the government.
We’ve made it clear, around the world, that we strongly believe that the Tweets must flow.— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) February 10, 2021
For more on how we engage governments and protect our values around the world, see our Transparency Report. https://t.co/kgibX2DM2R
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.
“To do so, we believe, would violate their fundamental right to free expression under Indian law,” it said.
Government moves to ‘Koo’ app
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and many of its organisations have moved to Koo, a Made-in-India alternative to Twitter. The Ministry of Electronics and IT, MyGov, Digital India, India Post, NIC, NIELIT, SAMEER, Common Services Center, UMANG app, Digi Locker, NIXI, STPI, CDAC, and CMET have verified handles on the platform.
The move comes at a time when the Government is mulling actions against Twitter for failing to comply with its orders on removing Khalistani and anti-India accounts.