Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s visit to India is not going down well with a lot of people. Dorsey met Congress President Rahul Gandhi on his first day in the country and then spoke about company’s efforts to tackle misinformation and hate speech on the platform at IIT Delhi. However, Dorsey’s visit and message has not really struck the right chord with the government.
Union home ministry has said that the social media platform has been “slow” in removing unlawful content on its platform. During a meeting held at the North Block on Monday, Rajiv Gauba, the Union home secretary conveyed the message to the top brass at Twitter. Vijaya Gadde, the Global Head of Legal, Policy, Trust and Safety at Twitter and its Indian Representative Mahima Kaul met the Union home secretary.
“It has been noticed that action taken by Twitter for removing/blocking objectionable/unlawful content has been slow in some cases and compliance for removal of unlawful content has been only about 60 percent even where orders have been issued by the competent authority after following due process of law,” the ministry said in a statement issued late on Monday evening.
Gauba has asked Twitter to ensure a round-the-clock mechanism for “prompt disposal of requisitions of law enforcement agencies for deletion/removal of unlawful/objectionable content from their platform.” The home secretary has also asked the micro-blogging platform to appoint India-based contact persons for prompt redressal of complaints.
“It was impressed upon Twitter representatives that they should improve their system of response to investigations related to legal requests of Law Enforcement Agencies under provisions of Criminal Penal Code and other laws,” MHA conveyed during the official meeting. The ministry also told Twitter that strict legal penal provisions would be invoked if the platform fails to limit objectionable content.
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Twitter is not the first to face the heat of home ministry. The ministry has held a series of meetings with executives from other platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp. These meetings have been held to inform them about the practice on these platforms to spread false information. WhatsApp CEO Chris Daniels met Indian government officials last month as the social messaging platform is found to have been source for mob lynchings in the country.
During his visit, Dorsey pedalled questions on fake news during a Q&A session at IIT-Delhi. He said the company is taking multi-variable measures to curb fake news before elections next year. He also met Rahul Gandhi to discuss fake news distributed through the social media platform. “Twitter has grown into the most dominant ‘conversation’ platform globally. Jack explained some of the steps being taken to keep those healthy and measures being taken to tackle the menace of fake news,” Gandhi tweeted.