According to sources, Twitter “blocked” 50 tweets related to a communally sensitive video clip of an elderly Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad on the microblogging platform.
According to information from the Lumen database, Twitter received a legal request from the Indian government on June 17 to act on 50 tweets.
These tweets have been withheld and the content could not be independently verified.
Upon clicking on the blocked URL listed on the Lumen database, a message is displayed stating that the tweet has been “blocked in India in response to a legal demand”.
According to sources, these tweets contained content related to the said video clip.
When contacted, a Twitter spokesperson said: “Access to certain content, as described in our country’s withheld policy, in response to a valid legal demand or when the content is found to be in violation of local law(s). may need to be stopped”.
The spokesperson said that withholding is limited to the specific jurisdiction/country where the content is considered illegal.
The account holder is notified directly – if available by sending a message to the e-mail address associated with the account – to let the user know that Twitter has received a legal order relating to the account.
“The legal requests we have received are detailed in the biennial Twitter Transparency Report, and requests to withhold the content have been published on Lumen,” the spokesperson said.
Requests received by Twitter to withhold content are published on the Lumen database – an independent research project that studies cease-and-desist letters related to online content.
The Ghaziabad Police has received an FIR against Twitter and six people for circulating a video, which claimed that an elderly Muslim man was allegedly beaten up and asked to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’. Police say this was done to create communal unrest.
The Ghaziabad Police has sent a notice to Twitter India Managing Director Manish Maheshwari asking him to join the investigation.
Twitter has drawn criticism for its failure to fully comply with the new IT rules, which mandate, among other requirements, the appointment of three key personnel – chief compliance officer, nodal officer – by the social media platform with over 50 million users. and Grievance Officer. All three personnel must be residents of India.
While the rules came into force on May 26, Twitter is yet to follow the social media guidelines despite repeated reminders by the government.
The government, last week, slammed Twitter for willful disobedience and failure to comply with IT regulations, which has led to the US giant losing its intermediary status in India and liable for users posting any illegal content. It is done.
Twitter and the government have come face-to-face over the past months on several instances when the microblogging platform tagged the political posts of several leaders of the ruling party BJP as “manipulative media”, during and after the farmers’ protests, leading to acrimony. Reprimanded. from the centre.
According to recent figures cited by the government, Twitter has an estimated 1.75 crore users in India. Earlier this month, Twitter blocked the accounts of Punjabi rapper Jazzybee, Sydney-based hip-hop artist L-Fresh the Lion and two others following demands from the Indian government.
Earlier this year, more than 500 accounts were suspended and access blocked to hundreds of others in India after the government banned the microblogging platform from spreading misinformation and inflammatory content related to farmers’ protests. was ordered to stop.