Don’t try to dictate terms; Centre warns Twitter

On Thursday, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) issued a strong rebuttal to Twitter's claim.

TNI Bureau: The government has accused Twitter of seeking to undermine India’s legal system by refusing to follow intermediary guidelines that allow it to claim safe harbour immunity from criminal liability in the country.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) issued a strong rebuttal to Twitter’s claim. “Protecting free speech in India is not the prerogative of only a private, for-profit, foreign entity like Twitter, but it is the commitment of the world’s largest democracy and its robust institutions”, it said.

According to the statement, ”Twitter’s statement is an attempt to dictate its terms to the world’s largest democracy. Through its actions and deliberate defiance, Twitter seeks to undermine India’s legal system. Furthermore, Twitter refuses to comply with those very regulations in the Intermediary Guidelines on the basis of which it is claiming a safe harbour protection from any criminal liability in India.”

According to the government, Twitter representatives in India routinely claim that they have no authority and that they and the Indian people must escalate all issues to Twitter’s headquarters in the United States.

The draft rules were finalized after consultations with social media platforms, civil society, industry associations and organizations, as well as the use of judicial orders, including the Supreme Court, according to Meity. There have also been several debates and recommendations in Parliament to take appropriate action.

The government asks twitter to comply with them instead of dictating terms. According to Meity, “Twitter needs to stop beating around the bush and comply with the laws of the land. Law making and policy formulations is the sole prerogative of the sovereign and Twitter is just a social media platform and it has no locus in dictating what India’s legal policy framework should be. Twitter has claimed that it is committed to the people of India.”

The government cited examples such as having to take several days to remove counterfeit and harmful content on vaccine hesitancy in India, taking any action against users who perpetrated violence on Capitol Hill, not respecting government requests to block content of users during the Red Fort incident, and a lot more.

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