Govt warned Twitter of 'consequences' for failing to block URLs during farmers’ protest
In a significant move, the Union government has accepted that it sent out a notice to Twitter warning it of ‘significant consequences’ after the platform failed to block certain URLs during farmers’ protest.
Last month, an interview with Twitter cofounder and former CEO, Jack Dorsey, was posted online, where he claimed that the Indian government threatened the microblogging platform that it will shut down its offices in India and carry out raids if they did not block accounts that were critical of the government during the farmers' protest. On Friday, July 21, the Central government accepted sending a notice to Twitter, warning it of ‘significant consequences' after the social media company failed to block 167 of the 3,750 URLs it had ordered to be taken down.
According to a report by the Times of India, the government stated that the decision to block those URLs was taken under the Information Technology Act which empowers the government to take down any such content that might be against national security.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, told the Parliament, “The government issued notice to Twitter on June 27, 2022, giving them an opportunity to comply fully, failing which they would have had to face significant consequences as mention in the IT Act, 2000. Subsequent to this notice, Twitter complied with all the blocking directions issued under Section 69A of the IT Act, 2000”. Chandrasekhar was responding to a question raised in Rajya Sabha.
Even while admitting to sending the notice, the Union minister denied ever threatening Twitter of carrying out authorized raids or shutting down its India offices. It also rejected the idea that it ever requested users' data from any social media accounts.
Centre accepts sending Twitter a notice
This is not the first time, Chandrasekhar has responded to these allegations. He wrote a long tweet after Dorsey's interview came to the surface where he said, “This is an outright lie by @jack - perhaps an attempt to brush out that very dubious period of twitters history”. Then, headlining the next part of his tweet as ‘Facts and truth', he added, “@twitter undr Dorsey n his team were in repeated n continuous violations of India law. As a matter of fact they were in non-compliance with law repeatedly from 2020 to 2022 and it was only June 2022 when they finally complied”.
The Former IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad reacted to the allegations at the time and said, “At the time, Twitter didn't comply with Indian laws. It is clear that all social media platforms are respected in India but they have to abide by the law of the land”.