New Delhi: The ongoing tussle between the government and Twitter executives over the suspension of user accounts in connection to the Republic Day tractor rally violence intensified on Wednesday as the government expressed “strong displeasure” on Twitter’s action regarding the alleged spread of “inflammatory content” and misinformation on the farmer protests. According to reports, top Twitter executives may now face arrest as the micro-blogging website decided to put a hold on censoring of user accounts. Also Read - We Will Ask People To Vote Against BJP: Farmer Union Plans To Send Teams To Poll-bound West Bengal, Kerala
In a virtual meet, the government termed a list of 257 handles on the platform as “non-negotiable” and said it will remain so even if agreed to hold discussions with Twitter officials. Also Read - Man Stops Ajay Devgn's Car in Mumbai to Ask Him to Speak on Farmers Protest, Arrested
“Lawfully passed orders are binding on any business entity. They must be obeyed immediately. If they are executed days later, it becomes meaningless,” the IT ministry asserted, adding the US-based platform “must respect” Indian laws “irrespective of Twitter’s own rules and guidelines”. Also Read - Badminton or Tennis? Netizens Troll Parineeti Chopra And Saina-Makers For Confused Poster
Twitter released a second statement yesterday noting that it took down nearly half the accounts the government had sought to be blocked and took action against any other tweet that appeared provocative or misleading. The government had asked the social media giant to block 1,178 accounts with links to Pakistan and Khalistan supporters that were spreading misinformation on farmers’ protest.
“Secretary reminded Twitter about the action taken by Twitter during the Capitol Hill episode in the USA and compared that with the disturbance in Red Fort in India and its aftermath. He expressed dissatisfaction over Twitter’s differential treatment in the two incidents,” the IT Ministry said in a statement.
“Twitter, as a business entity working in India, must also respect the Indian laws and democratic institutions. Twitter is free to formulate its own rules and guidelines as any other business entity does, but Indian laws which are enacted by the Parliament of India must be followed irrespective of Twitter’s own rules and guidelines,” the statement asserted. Another government source added that if Twitter fails to follow the orders, it may have to face “legal recourse”.
Twitter executives expressed their continuing commitment towards building their services in India and that they have also requested for better engagement between the Indian government and the company’s global team.