Twitter fears for freedom of expression in India

Twitter fears for freedom of expression in India
Delhi police say the visit was part of the investigation to serve notice to Twitter. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: Social media giant Twitter has expressed concern over freedom of expression in India, days after police visited the company’s offices.

The police served notice to the company after it labelled a ruling party tweet “manipulated media”.

Twitter had applied the label to a post by ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Sambit Patra.

The government has said the social media giant must obey the law. Tensions between media firms and the government have risen over new rules for digital content.

Recently, leaders of the BJP had shared screenshots of a document on Twitter that they claimed had been created by the main opposition Congress party to highlight government failures over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Congress complained to Twitter that the documents published by the BJP leaders were fake, leading Twitter to mark some of the posts – including one by Mr Patra – as “manipulated media”.

Under Twitter rules, it applies such tags to posts that include “media (images, audio and videos) that have been deceptively altered or fabricated”.

SA Twitter spokesperson said: “Right now, we are concerned by recent events regarding our employees in India and the potential threat to freedom of expression for the people we serve.”

“We, alongside many in civil society in India and around the world, have concerns with regards to the use of intimidation tactics by the police in response to enforcement of our global terms of service, as well as with core elements of the new IT rules.”

Police in Delhi said their visit to the social media company’s offices on Monday was to serve a notice to the company’s managing director after receiving a complaint about how Mr Patra’s tweet had been classified.

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