Representative image (Source: Reuters)
Social media giant Twitter has been asked by the Indian government to remove the "manipulated media" tag from the tweets related to the alleged "Congress toolkit", reports said on May 21.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), in a "strong communication" sent to Twitter, has asked the company to remove the flags on toolkit-related tweets as an inquiry would reveal whether it is manipulated or not, The Hindu reported citing a Ministry source.
"The government has asked Twitter to remove the tags affixed prejudicially to certain tweets in recent days in the interests of fairness and equity... Investigation will determine the veracity of the content, not Twitter," the source was quoted as saying.
The controversy erupted earlier this week, after leaders of the Centre-ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) shared screenshots of the alleged toolkit, which, they claimed, was being used by the opposition Congress party to tarnish the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Also Read | BJP leader Sambit Patra’s ‘Congress toolkit’ tweet flagged as manipulated media
The Ministry's letter to Twitter, as claimed by reports, comes a day after the microblogging site flagged BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra’s “Congress toolkit” tweet as “manipulated media”.
The Centre has informed Twitter that it's action of flagging the tookit-related tweets was "prejudged, prejudiced and a deliberate attempt to colour the investigation" as the Indian law enforcement agencies are still acting on the complaints registered over the allegedly manipulated tweets, the source which spoke to The Hindu claimed.
In the tweet posted by Patra on May 18, he had shared screenshots of the alleged toolkit of the rival Congress party, which he claimed was being used to target PM Modi over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Patra had then put out another tweet the following day to back his "toolkit" allegation with "evidence".
Twitter flagged Patra's tweet after the Congress party complained that the pages being circulated by the BJP as their ‘toolkit’ are fake and were created on forged letterheads. The opposition party also demanded the suspension of the accounts of top BJP leaders including party chief JP Nadda and Union Minister Smriti Irani for sharing the alleged toolkit.
As per Twitter policy, “…tweets that include media (videos, audio, and images) that have been deceptively altered or fabricated” are flagged by the social media platform.
The Congress also registered police complaints in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, seeking penal action against the BJP leaders for spreading falsehood and defaming the party.