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The Communist Voice of Twitter

Twitter’s freedom of speech is different in every country, though Twitter opposes the incident of capitol hill in Califonia US, what happens in Redfort India on 26th Jan was freedom of expression.

Freedom of speech and expression is a fundamental right of the Indian constitution. The government of this sovereign and democratic republic would like to assure representatives of social media companies including Twitter Inc., a US-based private company, that they will stay in India safe from any threat to their safety. The Indian government and Twitter claim to be champions of free speech, the free Internet, and net neutrality.

Recall Modi’s town hall in Silicon Valley in September 2015 with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook headquarters, where he introduced Digital India, saying that social media had become a tool of governance. Modi said social media had brought about a big change in his thinking: “The power of social media today is to tell the government where it has made mistakes and give it a chance to correct its mistakes.

As Modi’s popularity has plummeted in recent months, his government has turned to less useful ambassadors. To this end, it has begun enforcing new rules that make Internet-based information channels such as Twitter and Facebook responsible for the content they transmit, require them to respond to official requests, block websites that the government deems bad, and force news services such as WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram to break the encryption that guarantees users privacy. The rules also extend government surveillance to digital news platforms and streaming services such as Netflix.

The new law went into effect on May 26, a few days after Indian police stopped by Twitter’s local headquarters to obtain information about the social media company’s decision to label a tweet by a government spokesman as “rigged media.”. Twitter could not understand the criticism that the tweet was identified as fake material by an independent arbitrator. In a statement later released, Twitter accused the company of hypocrisy, saying it operated a weakened operation in India to hide its US activities and did not take Indian laws seriously.

It is not the first time Twitter has caved in to pressure from the Indian government. On May 27, Twitter accused the Indian government of dangerously overstretching and incompatible with open and democratic principles, saying it was forced to exclude the government from parts of free speech on its platform for fear of the safety of its employees and the threat of financial penalties. The government shot back, accusing Twitter of undermining the country’s law and trying to eradicate its terms of service through opaque policies and arbitrariness by suspending user accounts and deleting tweets.

Twitter has deleted more than 50 tweets criticizing the Indian government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic at the government’s request. Indian news site Medianama reported that the government tweeted an emergency decree on Friday to censor tweets, according to a notice on the Lumens database. The censored reports included a sitting member of the Indian parliament, two filmmakers, an actor, and a minister from the West Bengal state.

The Indian government has called on social media platform Twitter to delete dozens of tweets, including some from local MPs, criticizing its handling of the coronavirus outbreak as cases of Covid-19 reached a world record. The government ordered the censorship of the tweets after the company shared the database with a Harvard University project. Twitter had withheld the tweets, which were widely shared in India, a company spokeswoman told Reuters on Saturday.

The Indian government expressed ‘strong displeasure’ about Twitter’s response to the emergency order to block more than a thousand accounts for the alleged spread of provocative content and misinformation on the farmer protests. Making it clear that Twitter should block the accounts immediately, the government said that as a business entity working in India, Twitter must respect the Indian laws and follow them irrespective of Twitter’s own rules and guidelines. “Lawfully passed orders are binding on any business entity. They must be obeyed immediately. If they are executed days later, it becomes meaningless,” the ministry said.

In a communique late in the evening, the IT ministry said Twitter was told that under the Indian Constitution, freedom of speech is not absolute but is subject to certain restrictions as mentioned in Article 19 (2) of the Constitution of India.

When Twitter blocked over 200 tweets and handles that the Narendra Modi government wanted to be removed from public view. Within hours of doing this though, the social media network surprisingly went on to restore some of the accounts and tweets.

Activism transformed social media into a battlefield, and blood was shed. Twitter justice provided a greater cathartic release than court-ordered justice. Show trials were back in style (and they are still). The foot troops of social media would soon supplant prime-time proselytizers and oped oracles. Their autonomy mirrored the condensed rawness of their arguments—perhaps simply assertions. Never before have loftier statements and baser vilification had so much leeway. It was bearable, notwithstanding the filth, as long as definitions of free speech and hate speech were not only the prerogatives of the most righteous among us.

Meanwhile, several ministers and departments of the Union government have started flocking on Koo App – a homemade version of the social networking platform. The microblogging site was co-founded by entrepreneurs Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidwatka.

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Kunal Guha

Director, Founder and Editor in Chief
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