Twitter drags India to court over order to take down tweets

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Image Source: CNN

In India, Twitter has filed a lawsuit to block government requests to remove information. According to individuals who spoke to the BBC, the social media behemoth has petitioned the Karnataka state high court to challenge “many” of these decisions.

Twitter responded to a June government letter that warned of “severe penalties” for disobeying such instructions. According to one estimate, Twitter has more than 24 million users in India.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, a government minister, tweeted a few hours after the case was filed that all foreign Internet platforms had to adhere to Indian rules.

According to a source who is close to the situation, the government had notified Twitter in June that it was their “final chance” to abide by a number of blocking orders.

They are covered under the information technology law of India, which enables the executive branch to censor online material that, among other things, “threatens the security of the state” and public order. According to them, Twitter decided to file a lawsuit because of the “seriousness of the threats,” as breaking the law could result in criminal charges.

According to insiders, the social media behemoth feels that the orders “show excessive use of power and are disproportionate” and “procedurally and materially defective” compared to the standards of the law.

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According to the sources, requests to block whole accounts have been made in a number of instances. Additionally, numerous accounts can contain material that was published by “official handles of political parties.”

This is Twitter’s most recent action in their ongoing conflict with India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led administration.

Authorities have urged the social media giant to delete tweets and block accounts during the past year, citing concerns about public order. These contain tweets and accounts that discuss the widespread farmer protests from the previous year, as well as those who criticize how the government handled the outbreak.

In response to a legal notification from the government, Twitter temporarily suspended some 250 accounts during the farmers’ protests, claiming concerns based on public order.

These included reports from an investigative news publication and people and organizations linked to the months-long rallies on Delhi’s outskirts.

However, Twitter quickly reinstated the accounts, claiming that there was “insufficient justification” to keep them suspended. Twitter was informed in February of last year that it was “welcome to do business in India” but that it had to abide by local laws “regardless of Twitter’s own rules and standards.”

Following a police visit to its Delhi offices in May, Twitter voiced worries about the country’s restrictions on free speech.

After the site referred to a BJP tweet as “manipulated media,” the authorities sent a notice to the site.