The Twitter-Indian government feud has taken a new turn, with the government accusing Twitter of attempting to “dictate terms to the world’s largest democracy” and “defame India to mask its own mistakes.” Twitter issued a statement yesterday expressing displeasure with the new IT guidelines, which it feels endangers free speech. In reply, the government said
“Twitter’s statement is an attempt to dictate its terms to the world’s largest democracy. Through its actions and deliberate defiance, Twitter seeks to undermine India’s legal system. Furthermore, Twitter refuses to comply with those very regulations in the Intermediary Guidelines on the basis of which it is claiming safe harbor protection from any criminal liability in India”. It also alleges twitter of having opaque procedures allowing it to delete accounts at will and demands twitter to “stop beating around the bush and comply with the laws of the land.”
Twitter and the government have been at odds since Twitter labeled a tweet of the BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra as “synthetic and manipulated media.” The government promptly chastised the act, and Delhi Police on Tuesday visited the Twitter office in New Delhi to deliver an official notice. Twitter described the attempt of Delhi Police as “intimidation tactics,” trying to threaten its employees.
The new laws require large web-based media platforms to appoint and select delegates to review complaints. If an organisation fails to meet its endorsed obligations, those guidelines will impose punishments, including prison terms, on the assigned individuals. Furthermore, whenever a court or a public authority requests it, they must trace the originator of a specific message. Web-based media platforms that do not comply with the new rules will not be able to obtain legal immunity from claims and prosecution as “intermediaries.” This implies that they won’t be guaranteed legitimate immunity from reprehensible content published by their users.