Buoyed with how it helped the Democrats run a shadow campaign, which ensured the defeat of Donald Trump and the Republicans, Twitter set its eyes on India intending to dislodge the Narendra Modi government. Unfortunately for Twitter, it messed with the wrong country and is now forced to comply after picking up a fight with the Indian government. In a significant development, right after Modi government’s warning and the subsequent resignation of Mahima Kaul, the microblogging platform has taken down 126 of the 257 handles listed by the Indian government.
It seems that the Modi government’s tough stance against Twitter has yielded results as not only Twitter is forced to behave and comply with the Indian government’s orders but is also reaching out to the Modi government.
Under severe pressure and facing the prospect of not only being banned but also facing a jail term, Twitter has started blocking the accounts flagged by the Indian government over their role in Republic Day violence. In fact, it is being reported that IT & Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar has refused to meet Twitter’s officials.
Under Pressure, Twitter Begins Blocking a/cs Flagged by Government
IT & Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Snubs Twitter , refuses to meet it’s official pic.twitter.com/YsEjRuA9Of
— IndSamachar News (@Indsamachar) February 10, 2021
“We have withheld a portion of the accounts identified in the blocking orders under our Country Withheld Content policy within India only. These accounts continue to be available outside of India,” said Twitter in its blog.
Unsurprisingly, even in its clear defeat, Twitter didn’t miss the opportunity harp on Freedom of Expression as the social media giant added, “Because we do not believe that the actions we have been directed to take are consistent with Indian law, and, in keeping with our principles of defending protected speech and freedom of expression, we have not taken any action on accounts that consist of news media entities, journalists, activists, and politicians. To do so, we believe, would violate their fundamental right to free expression under Indian law.”
It added, “We will continue to advocate for the right of free expression on behalf of the people we serve and are actively exploring options under Indian law – both for Twitter and for the accounts that have been impacted. We remain committed to safeguarding the health of the conversation occurring on Twitter, and strongly believe that the Tweets should flow.”
For the uninitiated, the Modi govt had asked Twitter to remove accounts using the hashtag #Modiplanningfarmergenocide and those who are spreading blatant fake news to further provoke the protesters, however, the microblogging platform only withheld the accounts temporarily before reopening them which resulted in a serious face-off with the Indian government.
Unsurprisingly, there was a serious backlash against Twitter and the subsequent resignation of National Policy Director Mahima Kaul only raised more questions.
The government then responded by stating that there could be a jail term for Twitter officials in case they fail to comply. After initially, attempting to play victim, Twitter finally came around and has started complying with the government’s wishlist.
In fact, it seems that Google is learning from the case, as it has decided to help the govt find the “toolkit” developers. Delhi Police had recently sought the “registration details” and “activity log” of the account through which the “toolkit” document was uploaded. Google has now agreed to help identify the creators of the document.
Thus, the recent developments, in fact, suggest that the two tech giants – Google and Twitter have finally bowed before the Modi government.