Not Neutral And Unbiased: Govt Asks Twitter To Remove Manipulated Media Tags "Affixed Prejudicially" On BJP Leaders' Tweets
The Union government on Friday (21 May) said that it has conveyed its objection to Twitter for flagging tweets of BJP leaders on 'toolkit' as manipulated media and said that the action by the micro-blogging website "appears prejudged, prejudiced and a deliberate attempt" to influence the ongoing probe by the local law enforcement agency.
The micro-blogging website had on Friday flagged tweets of the BJP leaders sharing alleged toolkit document by the Congress to malign image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India.
The Congress had claimed that the 'toolkit' was forged and filed a police complaint against BJP leaders including party president J P Nadda for allegedly "spreading misinformation". The Sonia Gandhi-led party has also written to Twitter for permanent suspension of the accounts of BJP leaders.
After Twitter flagged the tweets, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in a statement on Friday said that it has written a strong communication to the global team of Twitter registering objection on the use of “Manipulated Media” tag on certain tweets made by Indian political leaders with reference to a toolkit "created to undermine, derail and demean the efforts of the government against COVID19 pandemic".
Asserting that an investigation by local law enforcement agency is already going on the complaint filed by one of the parties in the matter, the government said that Twitter has "unilaterally drawn a conclusion" in the matter without waiting for the police to "determine the veracity of the toolkit'.
"Twitter has unilaterally drawn a conclusion in this matter and arbitrarily tagged it as ‘Manipulated Media’. Such tagging by Twitter appears pre-judged, prejudiced and a deliberate attempt to colour the investigation by local law enforcement agency," the ministry said.
The ministry has termed such unilateral action by Twitter as an effort to influence the fair investigation process and a clear overreach, which is totally unwarranted.
The ministry further stated in its communication that Twitter unilaterally chose to go ahead and designate certain tweets as 'Manipulated', pending investigation by law enforcement agency.
"This action not only dilutes the credibility of Twitter as a neutral and unbiased platform facilitating exchange of views by the users but also puts a question mark on the status of Twitter as an “Intermediary”," the ministry said.
Further, the government has asked Twitter to remove the 'Manipulated Media' tags "affixed prejudicially" the tweets in the interest of "fairness and equity".
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