Micro-blogging site Twitter is yet again under the scanner for blocking Union Minister of Law and Justice, Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad for allegedly violating the copyright act of the United States of America.
On Friday, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad posted a tweet saying something highly peculiar happened to his account. The Minister said that Twitter had denied access to his account for almost an hour on the alleged ground that there was a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of the USA.
Friends! Something highly peculiar happened today. Twitter denied access to my account for almost an hour on the alleged ground that there was a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of the USA and subsequently they allowed me to access the account. pic.twitter.com/WspPmor9Su— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) June 25, 2021
Though the Twitter account of the Minister was visible for public viewing, Twitter did not allow anyone authorised to access this particular account to log in or make any post, according to reports.
When the minister tried to access the Twitter account @rsprasad, Twitter sent them a message saying, “Your account has been locked because Twitter received a compliant Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Notice for content posted to your Twitter account. Under the DMCA copyright owners can notify Twitter claiming that a user has infringed their copyrighted works. Upon receipt of a valid notice, Twitter will remove the identified material. Twitter maintains a repeat copyright infringer policy under repeat infringer accounts will be suspended. Accruing multiple DMCA strikes may lead to suspension of your account.”
Strangely, an hour later, according to the Union Minister, Twitter allowed him to access to the account with a warning message to the minister’s account stating, “Your account is now available for use. Please be aware that any additional notices against your account may result in your account being locked again and potentially suspended. In order to avoid this, do not post additional material in violation of our Copyright Policy and immediately remove any material from your account for which you are not authorised to post.”
Reacting to the incident, the Union Minister said that the micro-blogging site subsequently allowed him to access the account. Following the arbitrary action by Twitter, the Union Minister said that the actions by Twitter were in gross violation of Rule 4 (8) of Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, where they failed to provide him with any prior notice before denying me access to his own account.
Twitter’s actions were in gross violation of Rule 4 (8) of Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, where they failed to provide me any prior notice before denying me access to my own account: IT Minister RS Prasad (File pic) pic.twitter.com/EEsiK2qbX7— ANI (@ANI) June 25, 2021
The Indian government is reportedly unhappy with the brazenness of the social media company, which has been continuously enforcing its own rules while disrespecting Indian laws.
Twitter blocks Minister’s account amidst its tussle with Indian government
Interestingly, Twitter blocked the account of Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who holds the portfolio of the Information Technology Ministry, which is in charge of enforcing the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021.
It is pertinent to note that Twitter Inc. is in the middle of a tussle with the Indian government over the new IT rules. Ever since the Indian government enforced the new rules, the micro-blogging site has failed to comply with the Indian laws and has been delaying the compliance.
As Twitter did not comply with the rules, the Indian government sent a barrage of notices to the tech giant to follow the Indian laws. As usual, Twitter asked for more time to follow the Indian laws. With Twitter failing to follow the rules, the Indian government promptly withdrew its intermediary status for not complying with the new Information Technology Rules, which came into force on May 26.
In addition to the non-compliance, 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 Loni incident after Twitter failed to flag the fake news put out by alleged fact-checkers.
In addition to the above, Twitter’s interference into India’s domestic affairs has largely increased as the micro-blogging site has taken an active interest in promoting content specific to a particular ideology and censured nationalist contents. In the name of fighting fake news, the micro-blogging site marked tweets put out by nationalist accounts, BJP leaders and even government accounts as ‘manipulated media’, angering the ruling government.