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Centre vs Twitter: GoI Rebukes Twitter Officials Over Greta Thunberg Toolkit, Compares R-day Violence With Capitol Hill Riots

Twitter has already suspended more than 500 accounts. However, it has refused to ban the accounts of news bodies, journalists, activists and leaders, citing the need to keep freedom of expression intact. 



New Delhi| Amidst the ongoing confrontation between Twitter and the Indian government, a virtual meeting took place on Wednesday between senior officials of the two sides, in which the government has rebuked Twitter referring to the Capitol Hill violence. The govt officials also pointed towards a toolkit shared by Greta Thunberg. Reportedly, the GoI bluntly told Twitter that it would have to follow the laws of India and take strict action on campaigns focused on those who spread unrest.

The Central government on Wednesday expressed ‘strong resentment’ over Twitter’s delay in taking prompt action against the account and hashtag spreading misinformation and inflammatory messages about the farmer movement. The Ministry of Information Technology made it clear that the social media company may have its own rules, but it must follow the laws of the country.

In a virtual conversation between the IT secretary and officials, the government said that in India it would have to follow domestic institutions and regulations here. In fact, Twitter has already suspended more than 500 accounts after the Central govt’s notice. However, it has refused to ban the accounts of news bodies, journalists, activists and leaders, citing the need to keep freedom of expression intact.

IT Secretary Ajay Sahni bluntly told the Twitter representatives that India respects freedom of expression and criticism because it is part of our democracy. The virtual meeting was attended by Vice President Global Public Policy, Monique Mesh and Jime Baker, Deputy General Counsel and Vice President Legal on behalf of micro-blogging platform.

During a digital dialogue between the IT Secretary and senior Twitter officials, the government told this forum that as a business body operating in India, it must respect laws and democratic institutions and be involved in creating harmony and unrest in the country. The secretary criticized Twitter for not following government orders asking it to ban accounts posting inflammatory tweets in the context of the farmer movement.

The central government has expressed its displeasure that the social media platform is following the government’s instructions half-heartedly, which cannot be tolerated. The government also reminded the top Twitter officials of the actions taken during the violence at the Capitol Hill of the US, when Twitter shut down the accounts of several people, including US President Donald Trump. The secretary also compared the US Capitol Hill violence and the events at the Red Fort on 26 January and accused it of adopting double standards.

According to a statement issued by the IT ministry, the IT secretary also referred to the toolkit shared by Great Thunberg. He has said that the information related to a toolkit has been revealed, it is clear that a propaganda related to the farmers’ movement was planned on social media against India. The statement said, “Misuse of Twitter is unacceptable for such campaigns designed to create disharmony and unrest in India. Twitter should take strict action against such campaigns against India by following the laws.”

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