Twitter on Thursday said it is concerned about the safety of its staff in India and known for its government to respect freedom of expression, days after Indian police visited its office at New Delhi within its tagging of a tweet by a governing party spokesman as”manipulated media.”
Twitter has been engaged in a tense battle with the Indian government, which has often asked it to restrict content alleging Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is trying to silence criticism, including of its handling of this coronavirus pandemic.
Twitter said it has”concerns with regards to using intimidation tactics by the authorities” and”the potential threat to liberty of expression for those people we serve.”
India’s IT ministry called Twitter’s statement”totally baseless, untrue and an attempt to defame India.” It said Twitter must”comply with the laws of this property” rather than”dictating what India’s legal policy framework should be.”
The ministry also stated representatives of social networking companies such as Twitter”are and will always stay secure in India.”
On Monday, Indian police visited the Twitter office in New Delhi to serve a note directing it to answer questions regarding its tagging of this tweet as manipulated.
“It appears that Twitter has some information that’s not known to us on the basis of which they’ve classified it as such,” police said in a statement.
On Wednesday, the messaging app WhatsApp filed a lawsuit in Delhi High Court asserting that new administration rules which need it to create messages”traceable” to external parties are unconstitutional and undermine the fundamental right to privacy.
WhatsApp currently uses end-to-end encryption because of its messaging support, which encrypts messages in this way that no one aside from the sender and receiver can read the messages sent between them.
Sweeping new regulations for technology firms were declared in February that hold them more accountable for articles shared in their platforms.
Leaders from Modi’s celebration last week tweeted parts of a document they said was created by the main opposition Congress party to make the government look bad over its handling of this pandemic. Some Congress leaders whined Twitter, saying the document was forged. In response, Twitter indicated some posts as”manipulated media.”
Under Twitter rules, it implements”manipulated media” tags to posts which were”deceptively manufactured or altered.”
Twitter said in its statement Thursday that”to keep our service available, we will strive to comply with applicable law in India.”
Critics accuse Modi’s government of silencing criticism on social media, especially Twitter, a fee senior leaders of the governing party have denied.
The new social networking regulations give the authorities more power to police online content. They require platforms like Facebook and Twitter to divert content that authorities deem to be unlawful and also to assist with police investigations, such as identifying the originators of”mischievous information.”
Social media sites, including Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp, have been given three weeks to comply.