Twitter files case in Indian court challenging GoI orders to take down content, says report

New Delhi: Twitter is seeking to overturn some of the orders by the Indian government to take down content from its platform in a legal challenge, news agency Reuters reported quoting sources.

The US company’s attempt to get a judicial review of the orders is part of a growing confrontation with India.

The social media platform was asked by the government of India from last many years to act on content including “accounts supportive of an independent Sikh state, posts alleged to have spread misinformation about protests by farmers and over tweets critical of the government’s handling of the COVID pandemic”.

The Indian government has previously said that big social media firms, including Twitter, have not complied with removal requests, despite their legal standing, the report said.

Late last month, Twitter was warned by India’s IT ministry of criminal proceedings if it did not comply with some orders. Twitter complied this week, the report quoting the source, so as not to lose liability exemptions available as a host of content.

Quoting the source further, the report said, Twitter, in a filing with the top court in Karnataka, argued that some removal orders fell short of the procedural requirements of India’s IT act without specifying which ones it wanted to be reviewed.

The IT act allows the government to block public access to content in the interest of national security, among other reasons.

Twitter, which market research firms say has nearly 24 million users in India, also argues in its filing that some of the orders failed to give notice to the authors of the content.

It says that some were related to political content posted by official handles of political parties, the blocking of which amount to a violation of freedom of speech, the report said quoting the source further saying.

Tensions with the Indian government flared early last year when Twitter declined to fully comply with an order to take down accounts and posts which New Delhi alleged were spreading misinformation about anti-government protests by farmers.

The company has also been subject to police investigations in India and last year many Indian government ministers moved to the domestically developed platform Koo, accusing Twitter of non-compliance with local laws.


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