Government’s heated meet with Google, Twitter on fake news: Report

Ground Report | New Delhi: Twitter on fake news; Despite getting information about fake news, there was a heated exchange between the Indian officials and the officials of Google, Twitter, Facebook on Wednesday for not removing them from the social media platform.

According to the news agency Reuters, the officials of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting strongly criticized these companies for not taking action on fake news.

Indian officials also said that companies’ inaction on fake news has resulted in the government ordering the removal of controversial content and then internationally criticized for suppressing freedom of expression.

According to sources aware of the virtual meeting held on Monday, the debate between the two sides has increased so much that it shows signs of escalating tension between American tech companies and the Modi government. However, the officials did not issue any ultimatum to the companies.

The Government of India is continuously adopting strictness for the regulation of the tech sector, but it wants the tech companies themselves to show awareness about the content.

The meeting comes after Google used its special powers in December and January to block 55 channels on its YouTube platform and some Twitter and Facebook accounts. The government said that these channels were working to spread fake news and anti-India content.

“During the meeting, senior tech executives told officials that they take appropriate steps to remove or slow the spread of misinformation on their platforms and act on legally valid content removal requests,” the sources said.

“Officials told Google to review its internal guidelines to automatically remove false content,” the sources said. Officials also said the government was disappointed that the big social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, failed to detect and remove such content on their own.

“Instead, the government was forced to order takedowns, opening it up to criticism and damaging its public image, officials said during the meeting,” according to the sources.

Google executives told I&B officials that one way to resolve that was for the ministry to avoid making removal decisions public. “Companies could work with the government and act on alleged false content, which could be beneficial to both parties,” Google said, according to one of the sources.

“The idea was summarily rejected by government officials, who said the takedowns also publicize how companies were not doing enough to tackle fake news on their own,” the person said.

While ordering the takedown of certain online accounts in January, the government said it was doing so to “secure the general information environment in India,” adding that such false content concerned “sensitive topics” such as the Indian Army. , Indian foreign relations and local communications. state elections.

“Detailed takedown orders are not made public by the government,” said Apar Gupta, the executive director at Internet Freedom Foundation, adding that the basis for the action was not explained. “This allowed authorities to censor content even if it does not violate public order or the security of the state, “he said.

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