In the meeting with Twitter executives yesterday, Government of India yesterday expressed “strong displeasure” for inaction and non-compliance with its order passed under the Section 69A of Information Technology Act.
The Twitter delegation met the secretary of the ministry Ajay Sawhney virtually on Wednesday (10 February), reports HT.
The ministry of electronics and IT referred to the “toolkit” shared by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. and said that it proved that a strong social media campaign was being planned outside India and Twitter was one of its platforms for mobilisation. The ministry told Twitter that this was unacceptable.
The ministry also questioned how Twitter officially allows fake, unverified, anonymous and automated bot accounts to be operated on its platform.
The Indian constitution, told the ministry, provides for both the right to freedom of expression and several exceptions like security of state, public order etc. which have been upheld by the Supreme Court of India.
The government said that the hashtag of 'farmer genocide' was incendiary and baseless, and told Twitter that it was not siding with 'freedom of expression' but was encouraging those who seek to abuse the freedom to provoke disturbance to public order.
The ministry also pointed differential treatment of Twitter towards the storming of the Red Fort in comparison to that of United States Capitol Hill. “Twitter's action after Capitol Hill violence in the US was more stringent than what it did after Republic Day violence,” the ministry expressed its disappointment.
The IT secretary told Twitter representatives that India has a robust mechanism for protection of freedom of speech and expression. He said that Indian law gives freedom to corporations like Twitter to formulate its own rules like any other business entity but Indian laws which are enacted by Parliament must be followed regardless.
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