Days of operation in India for the global microblogging site Twitter might be numbered following stiff warning from the Union minister of IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad during his speech in the Rajya Sabha cautioning the social media giant against spreading fake news or anything inciting violence, as action will be taken if Indian laws were flouted.
“There is freedom of speech but Article 19A says that this is subject to reasonable restrictions,” the minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology said as he reminded platforms like Twitter and Facebook to comply with Indian rules while carrying out business.
Prasad in a strongly worded speech in Rajya Sabha said that with India becoming a global centre for technology consumption all global players under government’s Digital India programme are invited to work for digital inclusion and digital delivery of services.
“The Digital India programme is being talked about globally and lots of countries across the world are keen to work with India for digital inclusion and digital delivery of services,” Union IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Prasad also indicated that many global tech giants are making a beeline for entry into Indian technology space and the government is assessing proposals from countries across the world including Japan to work closely with the Centre’s efforts to implement similar programmes in different countries.
“The Countries with which we have MoUs I have conveyed to you but as far as Japan is concerned our relationship is very robust, very effective and mutually beneficial,” Prasad said.
“We respect social media a lot, it has empowered common people. Social media has a big role in the Digital India programme. However, if social media are misused to spread fake news and violence, then action will be taken on the misuse of social media in India whether Twitter or else,” Prasad said.
Also, top Union government ministers were seen promoting Indian opinion platform Koo. The recently launched platform also saw top ministers, administrators and decision-makers migrating from Twitter to Koo on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Centre has asked the global social media platforms to adhere to the constitution of India, and stop spreading fake news. “We have flagged certain issues to Twitter and social media to take into consideration the Indian Laws if they want to do business in the country. Different parameters can’t be allowed for different countries. It can’t be different for the Capitol Hill incident and some other parameters and for the Red Fort incident,” Prasad said.
Earlier the Union government expressed its displeasure over Twitter’s delayed compliance on its order to remove ‘provocative’ tweets amid the ongoing farmers’ protests. IT Secretary Ajay Prakash Sawhney expressed Centre’s displeasure with Twitter’s management.
According to an official statement issued late Wednesday night, the IT Secretary told Monique Meche, Vice President Twitter, Global Public Policy and Jim Baker, Deputy General Counsel and Vice President Legal of Twitter that delayed compliance to lawfully passed orders are ‘meaningless’.
“Lawfully passed orders are binding on any business entity. They must be obeyed immediately. If they are executed days later, it becomes meaningless,” Sawhney was quoted as saying in the statement.