Gujarat Exclusive > National-World > Twitter says it is concerned about “freedom of expression” of users, “intimidation tactics” by police

Twitter says it is concerned about “freedom of expression” of users, “intimidation tactics” by police

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Social media giant Twitter on Thursday broke its silence on the new digital rules that came into effect on Wednesday, raising its concerns over the potential threat to freedom of expression of users and the use of intimidation tactics by the police.

Twitter, which is mired in the Congress toolkit controversy that led to the Delhi Police knocking on its door with a notice, said that while it will try to comply with the applicable law, it plans to seek changes in certain elements of the rules that inhibit free and open conversation. The social media giant earned the wrath of the government for labelling a tweet of BJP leader Sambit Patra as “manipulated media”.

Notably, Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp has already approached the Delhi High Court against the new digital rules citing that it will lead to a violation of users’ privacy and end-to-end encryption of messages would not be possible.

What Twitter said

A company spokesperson said, “Twitter is deeply committed to the people of India. Our service has proven vital for the public conversation and a source of support for people during the pandemic. To keep our service available, we will strive to comply with applicable law in India. But, just as we do around the world, we will continue to be strictly guided by principles of transparency, a commitment to empowering every voice on the service, and protecting freedom of expression and privacy under the rule of law.”

Also Read: Ravi Shankar Prasad says govt respects privacy, aim is to stop misuse of social media

“Right now, we are concerned by recent events regarding our employees in India and the potential threat to freedom of expression for the people we serve. We, alongside many in civil society in India and around the world, have concerns with regards to the use of intimidation tactics by the police in response to enforcement of our global Terms of Service, as well as with core elements of the new IT Rules.”

“We plan to advocate for changes to elements of these regulations that inhibit free, open public conversation. We will continue our constructive dialogue with the Indian government and believe it is critical to adopt a collaborative approach. It is the collective responsibility of elected officials, industry, and civil society to safeguard the interests of the public.”

New digital rules

Social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter were given three months by the government to comply with the new digital rules, the deadline for which ended Tuesday. The new rules require these technology giants to set up a grievance response mechanism, remove content within 36 hours of a legal order and appoint a compliance officer in India.

This apart, companies are also required to develop automated processes for the removal of offensive content.  The Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code also provide that the major social media sites will lose their protection from legal prosecution for the content posted on their platform if they fail to comply with the government diktat.

 

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