Twitter has filed a legal challenge to the Indian government requests to remove information. According to reports citing sources, the social media giant has filed a lawsuit with the Karnataka state high court against “many” such decisions.
Twitter was responding to a letter from the government in June that warned of “severe consequences” if such demands were not followed. According to one estimate, Twitter has more than 24 million users in India.
Federal Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar tweeted hours after the petition was filed that all foreign Internet platforms must comply with Indian laws.
According to sources familiar with the situation, the government notified Twitter in June that it was the company’s “final chance” to comply with a number of banning orders.
They are covered by India’s information technology law, which permits the government to restrict internet content that, among other things, “threatens the security of the state” and public order.
They stated that Twitter elected to move to court because of the “seriousness of the threats,” since failing to comply with the legislation could result in criminal charges.
According to insiders, the social media giant believes the orders are “procedurally and fundamentally inadequate” of the law’s standards, adding that many of them “show excessive use of power and are unreasonable.”
According to the sources, there are multiple requests for full accounts to be blocked in several cases. Furthermore, numerous accounts may contain content posted by “official handles of political parties.”
This is the latest development in the ongoing feud between Twitter and India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.
Authorities have urged the social media giant to erase messages and block accounts in the last year, citing public order concerns. These include accounts and tweets on last year’s major farmer protests, as well as tweets criticising the government’s handling of the outbreak.
During the farmers’ protests, Twitter briefly suspended some 250 accounts in response to a legal request issued by the government, claiming public order concerns.
These included accounts from an investigative news magazine, as well as activists and groups connected with the months-long rallies on Delhi’s outskirts.
However, Twitter restored the accounts within six hours, citing “insufficient basis” for the suspension’s continuation.
Twitter was notified in February of last year that it was “welcome to do business in India,” but that it had to observe Indian regulations “regardless of Twitter’s own rules and standards.”
Twitter raised concerns about freedom of expression in India in May, just days after authorities raided its headquarters in Delhi.
The police issued a warning to the website after it labelled a BJP tweet as “manipulated media.”
(Adapted from TechCrunch.com)