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What happened in UP was illustrative of Twitter’s arbitrariness in fighting fake news: RS Prasad hits out on Twitter after it loses its safety net

Prasad also reminded Twitter of its selective labelling of content as ‘manipulative' without furnishing any proof for their decision.

Amid the speculations that micro-blogging platform Twitter will lose the safe harbour protection for not complying with the Intermediary Guidelines that came into effect from the 26th of May, Union Minister for Law and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad lashed at social media giant Twitter for refusing to follow Indian laws.

The social media platforms and other digital portals were given three months to comply with the new guidelines released by the government of India to bring transparency into the working of social media companies. Despite asking for a three-week extension, Twitter failed to appoint statutory compliance and grievance redressal officers as per the new IT rules. As a result, the social media giant will lose the intermediary platform, making it liable for content posted by users.

Union Minister hits out at Twitter

In a long thread comprising of nine Tweets, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad labelled Twitter’s disobedience as a deliberate decision of non-compliance.

On queries arising on Twitter losing safe harbour protection, the Minister said, “There are numerous queries arising as to whether Twitter is entitled to safe harbour provision. However, the simple fact of the matter is that Twitter has failed to comply with the Intermediary Guidelines that came into effect from the 26th of May.”

“Further, Twitter was given multiple opportunities to comply with the same, however it has deliberately chosen the path of non compliance,” he added.

Hinting at how unmonitored fake news can spark menace in the country, Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “The culture of India varies like its large geography. In certain scenarios, with the amplification of social media, even a small spark can cause a fire, especially with the menace of fake news. This was one of the objectives of bringing the Intermediary Guidelines.”

The Minister also took a jibe at the company for being opaque with the government while championing free speech.

Prasad also reminded Twitter of its selective labelling of content as ‘manipulative’ without furnishing any proof for their decision.

Talking about the latest Ghaziabad crime where a conscious effort was made to fan fake news, Prasad said, “What happened in UP was illustrative of Twitter’s arbitrariness in fighting fake news. While Twitter has been over enthusiastic about its fact checking mechanism, it’s failure to act in multiple cases like UP is perplexing & indicates its inconsistency in fighting misinformation.”

Questioning the company’s intent, Prasad questioned, “Indian companies be it pharma, IT or others that go to do business in USA or in other foreign countries, voluntarily follow the local laws. Then why are platforms like Twitter showing reluctance in following Indian laws designed to give voice to the victims of abuse and misuse?”

Finally, the Minister warned that no foreign entity can escape the law of land.

UP government files FIR against Twitter

The Uttar Pradesh Government has initiated action against Twitter India for failing to take down tweets that spread misinformation about a crime in the state. An FIR has been lodged against the social media platform in connection with the same.

This comes after the legal immunity that was provided to Twitter over content moderation in the country is officially over now.

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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