A timeline of Twitter India's woes and various controversies

The Centre and Twitter have been head-to-head on various issues over the past few months
Last Updated 01 July 2021, 06:08 IST

Over the last few months, Twitter India has come under the scanner of the Government of India, ever since the new IT rules came into effect. On June 29, an FIR was filed against Twitter by Delhi Police for the availability of child pornography material on the micro-blogging site.

This new case comes at a time when Twitter has lost immunity from criminal proceedings, as it appointed a US-based grievance officer which is in violation of the new Information and Technology Act.

This tussle between the Centre and the social media giant has been going on for months, with various grievances filed against the tech company. Here's a list of all the times Twitter has faced trouble in India:

'Manipulated Media'

In December 2020, Twitter India tagged BJP IT Cell head Amit Malviya's tweet as 'manipulated media'. His tweet was aimed at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. The latter had shared a photo of policemen attacking farmers during the protest; however, in an attempt to refute it, Malviya shared a video which was a supposed reality of the events. The video shared by Malviya was later called out by Alt News, a fact-checking site, who said the video was cropped and fake.

According to Twitter’s “synthetic and manipulated media policy”, it uses three criteria to judge whether a post deserves the tag — is the content synthetic or manipulated? Is it shared in a deceptive manner? Is it likely to impact public safety or cause serious harm?

Farmers' Protest

During the farmers' protest earlier this year, when the protest turned violent on Republic Day, the Centre asked Twitter to take down several accounts. It did not comply initially, but later did so partially.

Toolkit case

When the Greta Thunberg-Disha Ravi toolkit case happened, India accused Twitter of causing unrest in the country.

Removing blue ticks

Last month, Twitter had removed the blue tick verification badge from the personal accounts of Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu and several senior RSS leaders, including its chief Mohan Bhagwat.

Ghaziabad case

On June 16, Twitter and several journalists were named in an FIR for “flaring communal sentiments” after an elderly Muslim man claimed in a video that his beard was cut off and he was forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram”. Police, however, said there was no “communal angle" in the FIR lodged by the man.

Despite clarification from Ghaziabad police, the social media site allegedly did not take down the tweet, and came under fire.

Locked out of account

On June 25, Twitter locked Union Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad out of his account for almost an hour. While the account was visible, no one was allowed to access it, because he violated the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, as per the microblogging site.

Promoting vaccine hesitancy

Twitter has been accused of promoting vaccine hesitancy. The Ministry of Electronics & IT said, "Twitter’s lack of responsibility has led to rampant proliferation of fake and harmful content against India and Indians. Promoting vaccine hesitancy has been rampantly done through the use of Twitter platform and yet Twitter has taken no action. Is this commitment to the people of India?"

Covid-19 variants

The ministry also added that Twitter was 'discriminatory' and that it 'maliciously' let tweets of Indian Variant stay up despite WHO guidelines. "Discriminatory behavior has been practiced against Indians and people of Indian origin because of malicious tagging of B.1.617 mutant as ‘Indian variant’ name despite strict WHO guidelines against it. Again, Twitter has taken no action against such fake narratives and Tweets while grandiosely claiming to serve the people of India", the Ministry said.

(Published 30 June 2021, 06:07 IST)

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