The Centre on Saturday issued a notice to microblogging platform Twitter asking it to comply with the new IT rules, which were to be implemented by May 26. The government said this is the last chance given to Twitter. While this “last notice” comes in connection with the IT rules in which all social media intermediaries operating in India have to abide by, the Twitter versus government saga has been going on for quite some time and several central ministers have opened their accounts on Koo, an Indian microblogging platform.
Here are 10 things you need to know about the ongoing government versus Twitter
1. After the farmers’ rally on Republic Day in Delhi turned violent, the government asked Twitter to take action against some accounts, but Twitter was not prompt in responding to the request. Later, it complied but partially, when the “damage had been done”.
2. The government expressed its displeasure over the toolkit that was shared by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. The Centre said that Twitter was being misused for planning string social media campaigns to create disharmony and unrest in India.
3. Twitter wrongly showed the geolocation of certain areas of Ladakh as part of China and took several days to rectify the mistake, the IT ministry has recently said in a statement. “Twitter chose to show the geo-location of certain locations in Union Territory of Ladakh as part of the People’s Republic of China at a time when India and China were engaged in the peaceful resolution of border-related issues through bilateral dialogue,” it said.
4. The government has also accused Twitter of promoting vaccine hesitancy. “Twitter’s lack of responsibility has led to rampant proliferation of fake and harmful content against India and Indians. Promoting vaccine hesitancy has been rampantly done through the use of the Twitter platform and yet Twitter has taken no action. Is this commitment to the people of India?” the IT ministry said.
5. The government said Twitter took no action against posts that “maliciously” termed B.1.617 mutant as an Indian variant.
6. Recently, Twitter flagged some posts of a BJP spokesperson as “manipulated media”. The Delhi Police Special Cell visited the office of Twitter in this regard.
7. Twitter has said it is concerned about the safety of its staff working in India. “Right now, we are concerned by recent events regarding our employees in India and the potential threat to freedom of expression for the people we serve,” it said.
8. Twitter also said that the new IT rules have elements that could inhibit free speech. It said it plans to “advocate for changes to elements of these regulations that inhibit free, open public conversation”.
9. In reply, the government said that the platform will have to abide by the rules as these have been finalised after wide consultations with all stakeholders.
10. Twitter has appointed an interim grievance redressal officer in India. This was one of the mandatory provisions stipulated by the new IT rules.