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Centre asks Twitter to take down tweets sharing COVID-19 fake news: All you need to know

A Twitter spokesperson said that the action had been taken “in response to a legal request from the Government of India".

April 26, 2021 / 11:07 AM IST
India has been reporting more than 3 lakh new COVID-19 cases a day since April 21 (Representational image)

India has been reporting more than 3 lakh new COVID-19 cases a day since April 21 (Representational image)

The government has asked Twitter to delete tweets spreading ‘fake news’ about the government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Government sources told NDTV that the accounts were restricted for "circulating fake news, old photos, etc., and trying to mislead and create panic", and not because they were critical of the government's management of the crisis.

A Twitter spokesperson told NDTV that the action had been taken “in response to a legal request from the Government of India".

"We are tackling COVID-19 misinformation using a combination of product, technology, and human review - these critical efforts will continue to be a priority. In order for content related to COVID-19 to be labeled or removed under this policy, it must: Advance a claim of fact, expressed in definitive terms; Demonstrably false or misleading, based on widely available, authoritative sources; Likely to impact public safety or cause serious harm," the spokesperson said.

Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.

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The account holders in question had been notified via email.

Technology policy news platform MediaNama reported that 52 tweets were censored. Some of the posts deleted were by Revanth Reddy, a Member of Parliament (MP); Moloy Ghatak, a West Bengal state minister; actor Vineet Kumar Singh; and two filmmakers, Vinod Kapri and Avinash Das were taken.

PTI reported on April 25 that Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms were asked to remove posts spreading misinformation and panic.

A tweet by Congress National Spokesperson Pawan Khera was also taken down.

Khera said he has sent a legal notice to Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Twitter for taking down his April 12 tweet about "double standards on Kumbh Mela and Tablighi Jamaat".

India has been reporting more than 3 lakh new COVID-19 cases a day since April 21, the highest single-day spikes recorded by any country. Social media has been flooded with people looking for hospital beds, medical oxygen, and essential medicines such as Remdesivir.

The government has received criticism for its handling of the pandemic, with many of the view that the Centre was unprepared for the second wave of COVID-19 cases.

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Moneycontrol News
first published: Apr 26, 2021 11:07 am