Dismissal of Twitter's plea by the Karnataka HC serves as evidence that Dorsey's regime struggled to acknowledge the sovereignty of Indian law, said MoS IT
Dorsey-led Twitter displayed partisan behaviour while removing misinformation in India, despite taking action in similar situations in the US, added Chandrasekhar
On June 30, Karnataka HC dismissed Twitter's plea challenging government's orders to block tweets and accounts related to farmers' protests
Minister of State (MoS) for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, has expressed concerns over Twitter’s alleged violations of Indian laws and reluctance to remove misinformation from the platform during the tenure of former chief executive officer (CEO) Jack Dorsey.
Chandrasekhar made the comment while welcoming the recent ruling by the Karnataka High Court (HC), which dismissed Twitter’s plea challenging the government’s orders to block tweets and accounts associated with farmers’ protests between 2020 and 2021. In addition to the dismissal, the court also imposed a fine of INR 50 Lakh on the social media site.
The MoS, as per Business Standard, said that Twitter, under Dorsey’s leadership, displayed partisan behaviour by hesitating to remove misinformation from the platform in India, despite taking action in similar situations in the US. The Minister raised questions over the platform’s commitment to addressing misinformation globally.
The Minister also emphasised that the dismissal of Twitter’s plea by the High Court serves as evidence that Dorsey’s regime struggled to acknowledge the sovereignty of Indian law. He further asserted that Twitter cannot continue to operate as if Indian laws do not apply to them.
Twitter had approached the HC to contest 10 blocking orders issued by the central government that ordered the removal of 39 URLs between February 2021 and February 2022. Twitter argued that some of the blocking orders exhibited ‘procedural and substantial deficiencies’ and demonstrated an excessive use of power by the government.
Sticking to his guns, Chandrasekhar said that it was India’s right as a sovereign nation to ensure that all companies, irrespective of their size or origin, operating within its jurisdiction comply with local laws. Citing reports of alleged fake news, he further noted that it was the government’s responsibility to remove such content from the platform to prevent further escalation based on misinformation.
It is pertinent to note that Section 69(A) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 empowers the Indian government to issue directions for blocking public access to information under specific circumstances for a range of reasons. A flurry of amendments to the IT Rules have also accorded powers to the centre tpo crackdown on alleged fake news and set accountability for social media platforms.
This comes weeks after Dorsey publicly alleged that the Indian government had threatened to shut down Twitter’s operations in the country for failure to comply with takedown notices. In retort, the MoS, then, had termed the claims an ‘outright lie.’
Overall, India emerged as one of the top four nations globally to send the maximum number of takedown orders to Twitter between January and June, 2022, trailing behind Japan, South Korea and Turkey.