“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,” a Twitter spokesperson said.
Without directly referring to the Delhi police action, Twitter said: “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.”
‘Need 3 more months to comply with new rules’
Twitter also said that it will strive to comply with applicable laws in India and continue constructive dialogue with the government, referring to the new IT rules that came into effect from May 26.
The micro-blogging site urged the technology ministry to give it three more months to comply with the new content regulation rules, which include the appointment of an Indian grievance officer to deal with complaints.
Twitter said it was very concerned the rules made the compliance officer criminally liable for content on the platform, adding the move represented a dangerous overreach.
The new rules, announced on February 25, require large social media platforms — defined as those with over 50 lakh users in the country — to follow additional due diligence, including appointment of chief compliance officer, nodal contact person and resident grievance officer.
Non-compliance with rules would result in these platforms losing their intermediary status that provides them immunity from liabilities over any third-party data hosted by them. In other words, they could be liable for criminal action in case of complaints.
Delhi Police on Tuesday also issued notices to Congress social media head Rohan Gupta and party spokesperson MV Rajeev Gowda asking them to join the probe into their complaint which had accused BJP leaders including Sambit Patra of posting a forged ‘toolkit’ attributed to the opposition party.
The police action drew sharp criticism from the opposition Congress and Left which accused the government of trying to stifle free speech and indulge in intimidation.
Using the hashtag ‘Toolkit’, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday tweeted, “Truth remains unafraid”.
Upping the ante, his party demanded that the microblogging site affix the ‘manipulated media’ tag to similar tweets of Union ministers as it did to the post by Patra.
Last week, BJP national spokesman Sambit Patra had released a set of pages alleged to be a Congress ‘toolkit’ to discredit the government’s handling of the Covid situation. Congress had responded that the ‘toolkit’ was a forgery and filed a complaint.
(With inputs from agencies)