Dorsey was speaking to an American news outlet on the pressure he went through from foreign governments, citing examples of India and Turkey
We would raid the homes of your employees’, which they did. ‘We will shut down your offices if you don’t follow suit: Jack Dorsey
Union Minister of IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar denied Dorsey’s claims, stating that the government was only looking for compliance with Indian laws
Ex-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has sparked controversy, claiming that the Indian government raided the homes of Twitter India employees and shut down its offices in the country.
Dorsey was speaking to an American news outlet on the pressure he went through from different foreign governments, citing examples of India and Turkey.
The Twitter cofounder claimed that the Modi government had made many requests related to the posts made during the 2021 Farmers’ Protest and against those journalists critical of the government.
“India, for example, had many requests of us around the Farmers’ Protest, around journalists critical of the government. It manifested in ways such as we were shut down in India, which is a very large market for us,” said Dorsey.
“‘We would raid the homes of your employees’, which they did. ‘We will shut down your offices if you don’t follow suit.’ And this is India, a democratic country,” the ex-Twitter CEO added.
The events the ex-Twitter CEO referred to was the May 24, 2021 raids by the Delhi Police at two Twitter premises, in relation to the microblogging site tagging a tweet made by BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra as ‘manipulative media’.
Jack Dorsey’s comments have elicited a response from the Union Minister of IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who denied the claims made by Dorsey and called his behaviour and conduct ‘partisan’.
“This is an outright lie by @jack – perhaps an attempt to brush out that very dubious period of Twitter’s history,” said Chandrasekhar on Twitter.
The MoS said that Twitter was in repeated and continuous violations of Indian law. “They [Twitter] were in non-compliance with the law repeatedly from 2020 to 2022, and it was only June 2022 when they finally complied,” added Chandrasekhar.
The minister of state also rejected Dorsey’s claim that Twitter was ever shut down in India or that any Twitter officials in India went to jail. “Dorsey’s Twitter regime had a problem accepting the sovereignty of Indian law. It behaved as if the laws of India did not apply to it,” Chandrasekhar added.
The minister of state also added that Twitter under Dorsey acted in a partisan manner.
“Such was the level of partisan behaviour on Twitter under Jack’s regime, that they had a problem removing misinformation from the platform in India when they did it themselves when similar events took place in the USA,” the MoS IT said.
Chandrasekhar reiterated that no one from Twitter was raided or sent to jail. “To set the record straight, no one was raided or sent to jail. Our focus was only on ensuring compliance with Indian laws,” said the MoS IT.
To be sure, Twitter was engaged in several lawsuits against the Indian government across multiple high courts during the majority of 2021 and the first half of 2022, opposing takedown orders under Jack Dorsey and then CEO Parag Agrawal.
However, the platform under Elon Musk and Linda Yaccarino has taken a more ‘olive branch’ approach, as Musk recently followed PM Narendra Modi on Twitter.
Even so, India remains among the top four countries to send legal directions to Twitter to remove content and request user data between January 1 and June 30, 2022, per the microblogging site.
“Around the world, Twitter received approximately 53,000 legal requests to remove content from governments during the reporting period. Twitter’s compliance rate for these requests varied by requester country. The top requesting countries were Japan, South Korea, Turkey and India,” the company said in a blog.