The Centre took to made-in-India micro-blogging website, Koo to respond to Twitter over the ongoing tussle over blocking of some accounts related to farmers’ protest.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) shared a post on Koo calling the Twitter's latest blog post about its response to blocking orders by the government of India unusual as it came ahead of government's scheduled engagement with the management of American micro-blogging site.
"Upon the request of Twitter seeking a meeting with the government, the secretary IT was to engage with senior management of Twitter. In this light a blog post published prior to the engagement is unusual.
The government will share its response soon. “the ministry said from its handle on social media app Koo, the local alternative to Twitter, hours after Twitter's blog came.The Ministry also shared its reaction on Twitter, though.
Upon the request of Twitter seeking a meeting with the Govt., the Secretary IT was to engage with senior management of Twitter. In this light a blog post published prior to this engagement is unusual. Govt. will share its response soon.
— Ministry of Electronics & IT (@GoI_MeitY) February 10, 2021
In a blog post, Twitter said that it had not taken any action on many accounts - as directed by the Centre - because it believed it would violate their fundamental right to free expression under Indian law and its own principles of defending the freedom of expression.
The blog, however, listed steps, including suspension of more 500 accounts engaging in manipulation, action on accounts inciting violence and labelling of tweets that were in violation of its policy, taken by Twitter as part of enforcement under the Twitter Rules since the violence in New Delhi on January 26.
Twitter had on February 8 said was concerned about the safety of its employees and had reached out to Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad for formal dialogue. But, the government said the ministry’s secretary will lead the talks with the firm.
Developed by Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka in March 2020, Koo, the Indian micro-blogging website, is a platform, much like Twitter, to express views and opinions on various issues. It won the AatmaNirbhar App Innovation Challenge held by the Government of India in August 2020.
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who holds portfolios including Law and Justice, Electronics and Information Technology and Communications along with Railway Minister Piyush Goyal are among the prominent names in the government who have joined Koo.
The Centre had on February 3 sent a non-compliance notice to Twitter for reinstating accounts and Tweets supporting the farmers’ protest despite a directive by the ministry to block them for posing a threat to public order.
The notice warned the social media platform of penal action for "non-compliance of directions issued under section 69-A of the IT Act”.
Section 69 A(3) of the IT Act says, "the intermediary who fails to comply with the direction issued under sub-section (1) shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine."Twitter's ongoing tussle with Centre comes in the wake of violence in Delhi on January 26 during a tractor parade of farmers protesting the new farm laws which resulted in the death of one person and injuries to over a hundred people, including police personnel.