Twitter tries to dictate its policy on the worlds largest democracy. Government says you it's Governments right to protect the privacy of its citizens
The government of India has come up with a strongly worded rebuttal to Twitter’s misleading and obfuscating statement to media today regarding Indian law and its so-called policies. The govt has stated that “protecting free speech in India” is the responsibility of the Indian government and not the prerogative of a private, for-profit, foreign entity like Twitter.
Calling Twitter’s statement ‘an attempt to dictate its terms to the world’s largest democracy, the Union ministry fo Electronics and IT stated that through its actions and deliberate defiance, Twitter is seeking to undermine India’s legal system. The ministry stated that Twitter is refusing to comply with the very regulations in the intermediary guidelines on the basis of which it is claiming a safe harbour protection from any criminal liability in India.
If Twitter is so committed, why it did not set up such a mechanism in India on its own?, the ministry asked, while stating that Twitter India representatives routinely try to evade responsibility by claiming they have no authority and the people of India will have to reach out to Twitter headquarters in the USA. It called Twitter’s claims of ‘commitment to India’ as hollow and self-serving.
Adding to this ministry said that in spite earning huge revenue from India. Twitter is not ready to appoint a India based grievance redressal system.
India respects the right to privacy but it also wants to provide justice to its people. Ministry said the Constitution provides right to criticize the government, or the Twitter. And it said it wants to provide justice those people whose images are morphed and spreads them. It wants to know the source of creation of fake news and the the first person who spreads it. People have rights to get justice. But Twitter wants to dictate its policy and doesn’t want to provide justice.
Twitter has no locus in dictating what India’s legal policy framework should be
“Twitter needs to stop beating around the bush and comply with Indian law. Lawmaking and policy formulations are the sole prerogatives of the sovereign and Twitter is just a social media platform. It will have no locus in dictating what India’s legal policy framework should be”, the statement strongly asserted.
The ministry also gave examples of how Twitter has violated Indian law and undermined the interests of India’s people.
-It had shown certian parts of Indian Union Territory as parts of China and took several days to correct mistakes despite reminders.
-Twitter had taken sun motu action against perpetrators of violence at Capitol Hill in USA, but refused to take prompt action when GOI’s made lawful request to block content when similar incidents happened at Red Fort in Delhi.
-Twitter’s lack of action has helped the rampant proliferation of fake and harmful content against India and Indians. Vaccine hesitancy was rampantly promoted via Twitter and the company has taken no action.
-Discriminatory behaviour against Indians has taken place because of Twitter’s refusal to flag malicious tagging of the B.1.617 variant of Covid as “Indian variant” despite WHO guidelines against it.
Finally, the ministry stated that Twitter is merely a private company and it needs to refrain from false grandiosities and comply with laws of India.
The govt also asserted that representatives of social media companies in India, including those of Twitter will always remain safe and there is no threat to their personal safety and security in India.
The government called the statement by Twitter entirely baseless, false and an attempt by Twitter to hide their own follies.