Lawfully passed orders are binding on any business entity, MeitY tells Twitter

    The Secretary also compared the action taken by Twitter during the Capitol Hill episode in the USA with the disturbance in Red Fort in India and its aftermath.
    By HT TECH
    | Updated on Feb 10 2021, 11:52 PM IST
    The MeitY Secretary expressed “strong displeasure” on the way Twitter acted after an emergency order was issued to remove a hashtag on ‘farmer genocide’ and content related to that.
    The MeitY Secretary expressed “strong displeasure” on the way Twitter acted after an emergency order was issued to remove a hashtag on ‘farmer genocide’ and content related to that. (REUTERS)
    The MeitY Secretary expressed “strong displeasure” on the way Twitter acted after an emergency order was issued to remove a hashtag on ‘farmer genocide’ and content related to that.
    The MeitY Secretary expressed “strong displeasure” on the way Twitter acted after an emergency order was issued to remove a hashtag on ‘farmer genocide’ and content related to that. (REUTERS)

    The Secretary Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) on Wednesday held a virtual interaction with Twitter’s Vice President Global Public Policy, Monique Meche, and the company’s Deputy General Counsel and Vice President Legal, Jim Baker. The meeting took place on the sidelines of the order issued by the government directing Twitter to remove tweets and accounts using hashtag pertaining to ‘farmer genocide’ and accounts supported by Khalistan sympathisers and backed by Pakistan.

    In the meeting, the MeitY Secretary told the Twitter representatives that the company is free to business in India. “Twitter, as a business entity working in India, must also respect the Indian laws and democratic institutions,” MeitY wrote.

    “Twitter is free to formulate its own rules and guidelines as any other business entity does, but Indian laws which are enacted by the Parliament of India must be followed irrespective of Twitter’s own rules and guidelines,” it added.

    The MeitY Secretary expressed “strong displeasure” on the way Twitter acted after an emergency order was issued to remove a hashtag on ‘farmer genocide’ and content related to that.

    “Spreading misinformation using an incendiary and baseless hashtag referring to ‘farmer genocide’ at a time when such irresponsible content can provoke and inflame the situation is neither journalistic freedom nor freedom of expression as envisaged under Article 19 of the Constitution of India. Despite the attention of Twitter being drawn to such content by the Government through a lawful process, the platform allowed the content with this hashtag to continue, which was extremely unfortunate,” MeitY added.

    ALSO READ: Twitter says it has not taken action against media entities, journalists, activists, and politicians

    The Secretary also compared the action taken by Twitter during the Capitol Hill episode in the USA with the disturbance in Red Fort in India and its aftermath. He “expressed dissatisfaction over Twitter’s differential treatment” in the two incidents. “A deep sense of disappointment at seeing Twitter side not with ‘freedom of expression’ but rather with those who seek to abuse such freedom and provoke disturbance to public order, was conveyed to the Twitter representative,” MeitY said in its statement.

    Notably, the statement follows a blog post published by the microblogging platform, wherein the company said that it had not taken action against accounts that consist of news media entities, journalists, activists, and politicians. In the same blog post, Twitter said, “We took a range of enforcement actions — including permanent suspension in certain cases — against more than 500 accounts escalated across all MeitY orders for clear violations of Twitter’s Rules.”

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    First Published Date: 10 Feb, 11:52 PM IST
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