Twitter’s co-founder, Jack Dorsey, has revealed that India, no matter being the arena’s biggest democracy, frequently requested Twitter to remove some specific posts and accounts. These requests have been frequently observed via legal threats in case of noncompliance. According to Dorsey, India made many such requests regarding critics of the authorities and posts associated with farmer protests.
India’s Twitter Shutdown
During 2021, the Indian government threatened Twitter with legal action and ordered the suspension of hundreds of accounts as well as reduced visibility for certain hashtags. The majority of these targeted accounts were in support of farmer protests against newly proposed legislation.
During an interview with Breaking Points, Jack Dorsey revealed that the Indian government’s orders were expressed through threats such as “we will shut Twitter down in India”, “we would raid the homes of your employees” (which they did), and “we will shut down your offices if you don’t follow suit”. Dorsey emphasized that these actions came from a democratic country like India.
In the past, Twitter was known for strongly opposing government mandates to remove posts or suspend accounts. In a notable move, the company even filed a lawsuit against the Indian government to challenge several block orders on tweets and accounts.
Compared to its American counterparts, Twitter took a longer time in complying with India’s recently implemented IT regulations. These rules require companies to reveal contact information for representatives responsible for regulatory compliance, nodal points of reference, and grievance redressal mechanisms to address local concerns.
In 2021, whilst Twitter did not observe the brand-new guidelines, a special unit of Delhi Police performed surprise visits to two of its offices in India. Twitter expressed challenge over those activities and stated that it was involved about the potential hazard to freedom of expression for the human beings they serve.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the federal deputy minister for information technology in India, rejected Dorsey’s comments and accused him of trying to “brush out that very dubious period of Twitter’s history” when he was its CEO.
According to Chandrasekhar, Twitter under Dorsey and his team repeatedly violated Indian law from 2020 to 2022. They were in non-compliance with the law until June 2022 when they finally complied. Despite this, no one was imprisoned or did Twitter face a shutdown. Chandrasekhar accused Dorsey’s tenure at Twitter of having issues accepting the sovereignty of Indian law.
Chandrasekhar stated that Twitter acted as if Indian laws did not apply to it, and he emphasized India’s right to ensure that all companies operating within its borders follow the law. During the January 2021 protests, there was a lot of misinformation on Twitter, including fake reports of genocide. The government felt compelled to remove this misinformation from the platform because it had the potential to exacerbate an already tense situation based on fake news.
Learn here to get the latest Technology Industry News.