New Delhi: Amid the tussle between Twitter and the Central government over the new IT rules, Union Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was on Friday denied access to his Twitter account for almost an hour over alleged violation of the US’ Digital Millennium Copyright Act — a move that was immediately slammed by him as being arbitrary and against IT rules. Notably, this is the first instance of a Twitter account of a Union Minister getting blocked.Also Read - Anupamaa Fans Upset With Makers For Normalising Toxic Behaviour of Elders: Just Because Barkha is Younger Than Baa...' | Written Update, June 29
Hours later, Twitter responded to the allegation of the Union minister and said the account access was temporarily restricted due to a DMCA notice only and the referenced tweet has been withheld. Also Read - Journalist Rana Ayyub's Twitter Account 'Withheld' In India. What it Means
“The Union Minister’s account access was temporarily restricted due to a DMCA notice only and the referenced tweet has been withheld. As per our copyright policy, we respond to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives,” Twitter Spokesperson said in a clarification. Also Read - ‘Your Electricity Supply Will Be Cut Tonight’ | Beware Of New Fraud; Full Details Inside
The Union minister’s account access was unlocked about an hour later with a warning that the account may be locked again or potentially suspended in case of any additional notices against the account.
However, Prasad lashed out at Twitter in a series of posts on rival social media platform Koo and said it was apparent that his statements calling out the “high-handedness and arbitrary actions” of Twitter had ruffled feathers.
“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,” Prasad wrote. He also tweeted on the issue.
The temporary locking of the IT Minister’s Twitter account comes at a time when the US-based digital giant has been engaged in a tussle with the Indian government over the new social media rules.
The government has slammed Twitter for deliberate defiance and failure to comply with the country’s new IT rules, which has led to the microblogging platform losing its legal shield as an intermediary in India and becoming liable for users posting any unlawful content.
The development comes at a time when Twitter and the Central government have been at loggerheads over multiple instances in the past months, including during the farmers’ protest and later when the microblogging platform tagged political posts of several leaders of the ruling party BJP as “manipulated media”, triggering a sharp rebuke from the Centre.