Twitter's senior management was scheduled to meet Information Technology Minister on Wednesday, but the micro-blogging platform put out a blog post to clear its stance regarding its response to the Indian government's blocking orders. Reacting to this, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) said the move was unusual.
"Upon the request of Twitter seeking a meeting with the Govt., the Secretary IT was to engage with senior management of Twitter. In this light a blog post published prior to this engagement is unusual. Govt. will share its response soon," MeitY reacted on Twitter's alternative made-in-India app Koo. The same was later shared on Twitter as well.
The government's response to Twitter's blog is expected sooner than later. But it sure seems like it has hit a nerve with the Centre.
Twitter-Indian govt don't see eye to eye
The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) has sent three notices to Twitter, the latest one asking the company to block 1,178 accounts believed to be linked to Khalistan sympathisers and those backed by Pakistan. In the first notice, MeitY asked Twitter to block 257 accounts using the #ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide hashtag amid the farmers' protest, under Section 69A of the IT Act.
Twitter had suspended some high-profile accounts earlier this month, only to unblock them in a few hours saying that the "content is free speech and newsworthy".
The IT Ministry then took cognizance of a clear attempt to polarise India when international celebrities with hardly any expertise on Indian affairs extended their support to the protesters agitating against the three new farm laws.
The government also took a serious note of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey "liking" a Tweet asking for an emoji for the hashtag #FarmersProtests.
What was Twitter's blog post about?
In the blog post that irked government officials, Twitter explained everything from suspension of various accounts on its platform and legal requests from the Indian government. Adhering to the government's request, Twitter permanently suspended over 500 accounts for clear violations of its rules. However, the company said that it did not believe that the actions it has been directed to take by the IT Ministry are consistent with the Indian law.
"In keeping with our principles of defending protected speech and freedom of expression, we have not taken any action on accounts that consist of news media entities, journalists, activists, and politicians. To do so, we believe, would violate their fundamental right to free expression under Indian law," the micro-blogging platform reiterated.
(Additional agency inputs)