Decision-making executives of left-leaning micro-blogging site Twitter could face arrest as the union government has conveyed to the American company that the suspension list it had received from the IT ministry was “non-negotiable”. The government has warned that its “patience was wearing thin” over the delay by Twitter in removing the handles that dangerously suggested that the current government had plans to annihilate the protesting farmers.
Earlier this month, the government had handed over a list of 1,178 handles that were appeared to be backed by Khalistan-sympathisers. Individuals based in Pakistan were found to be operating these handles. The ministry alleged the handles were spreading misinformation about the farmers’ protest in India.
Secretary Ministry of Electronics & IT of the Government of India held a virtual interaction with Twitter India officials and took up the issue of using a hashtag on ‘farmer genocide’. The officials expressed strong displeasure on the ‘way Twitter acted after an emergency order was issued to remove this hashtag’.
The government has warned that its ‘patience was wearing out’ over Twitter’s delay in removing the handles that have been allegedly spreading misinformation around the farmers’ protest.
The secretary said that spreading misinformation using incendiary and baseless hashtags referring to ‘farmer genocide’ when such irresponsible content can provoke and inflame situation is neither journalistic freedom nor freedom of expression as envisaged under Indian Constitution’s Article 19.
The government informed the Twitter leadership that the manner in which Twitter officially ‘allows fake, unverified, anonymous and automated bot accounts to be operated on its platform, raises doubts about its commitment to transparency and healthy conversation on this platform’.
Meanwhile, Twitter leadership in India reiterated their commitment towards Indian laws and rules and requested for better engagement between Government of India and Twitter’s global team.
Earlier, the IT ministry under Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had told the social media giant that it was obliged to abide by its instructions, keeping public order in mind and to defuse an atmosphere of public hatred and tension. The ministry said ‘motivated campaigns’ on Twitter and hashtag around Modi were being used to ‘abuse, inflame and create tension in society on unsubstantiated grounds’.