Call it a love affair that has ended. Five years in the past IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had lauded Twitter for standing up for the liberty of expression and advancing the reason for free speech. In a gushing tweet, full with emoji of crimson coronary heart, the IT Minister shared his appreciation for the social media web site with hashtag #LoveTwitter. However, his newest tweets go in one other path. Just a day in the past on June 16, the minister berated Twitter in robust phrases, terming the corporate “over-enthusiastic about its fact-checking mechanism” and failing to adjust to India’s new IT Rules 2021.
The Minister’s tweets on June 16 are certain to draw consideration to considered one of his tweets made on March 21, 2016. At that point, in his tweet, he stated: “Freedom of expression and information sharing has got new strength from social media. Proud of contributions of Twitter to that.#LoveTwitter.”
On June 16, IT Minister Prasad launched a scathing assault over its non-compliance with new IT guidelines. He posted a sequence of tweets accusing Twitter of being “over-enthusiastic about its fact-checking mechanism” and went on to criticise the corporate for “portraying itself as the flag bearer of free speech.”
The Minister now feels that Twitter is doubtful. “It is astounding that Twitter which portrays itself as the flag bearer of free speech, chooses the path of deliberate defiance when it comes to the Intermediary Guidelines,” he wrote on June 16.
It’s price noting that 5 years is a very long time, and it’s doable for folks to change their opinion as new information come into the image or when circumstances change. It is evident that circumstances have certainly modified. Either Twitter is not the identical firm with the identical insurance policies round freedom of expression because it was in 2016, or the Indian authorities not seems on the complete challenge in the identical means because it did earlier. But regardless of the brand new circumstances, it’s clear that Twitter and the Indian authorities not have the identical emotions for one another.
In current months, Twitter has run into points repeatedly so far as the Indian authorities and its businesses are involved. Earlier this yr, when the Indian authorities requested Twitter to take away or block some tweets associated to Framers’ protests, Twitter refused to accomplish that in some cases.
Then in February, the federal government got here out with new guidelines that tech firms like Twitter have to comply with in India. Now, the federal government is saying that Twitter just isn’t in compliance with these guidelines.
At the identical time, Twitter has additionally confronted some probing questions from Indian regulation enforcement businesses after the corporate tagged a few pictures tweeted by a BJP spokesperson as “manipulated media.” The social media firm, typically however not all the time and in a unilateral resolution, calls out movies and pictures that it believes are pretend by tagging them “manipulated media.”
Currently, the Indian authorities says Twitter has not complied with the brand new IT Rules 2021 that got here into pressure on May 26. Prasad highlighted in his tweets that Twitter was given further time to adjust to the principles however “deliberately chose the path of non-compliance”.
“The culture of India varies like its large geography. In certain scenarios, with the amplification of social media, even a small spark can cause a fire, especially with the menace of fake news. This was one of the objectives of bringing the Intermediary Guidelines. It is astounding that Twitter which portrays itself as the flag bearer of free speech, chooses the path of deliberate defiance when it comes to the Intermediary Guidelines,” stated the Minister.
The authorities argues that Twitter’s non-compliance with the brand new IT Rules implies that it has misplaced its standing as an middleman, and now it may be held accountable for user-generated content material. Although, some authorized specialists declare that which web site is an middleman and which isn’t in India can solely be determined by a courtroom.
Twitter, in its defence, has stated that it’s taking longer to adjust to recent Indian authorities necessities as a result of it’s establishing a new workplace in India. “We are making progress with relation to establishing an acceptable native workplace for Twitter Inc with the recommendation of consultants in India. We have been suggested that it’s mandatory for us to set up this workplace prior to hiring the CCO and different officers on a everlasting foundation,” Twitter stated in a assertion.