Twitter is seeking to overturn some Indian government orders to remove content on the social media platform, a source familiar with the matter said, in a legal challenge alleging abuse of power by officials.
The US company’s attempt to gain judicial review is part of a growing confrontation with New Delhi.
Indian authorities have asked Twitter over the past year to act on content, including accounts supporting an independent Sikh state, posts that allegedly spread misinformation about farmers’ protests, and tweets criticizing the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic by the government.
The government had previously said that Twitter had not complied with takedown requests, despite its legal status.
However, the social media platform complied with the final notice issued by the Ministry of Electronics and IT on June 27. The Ministry of Electronics and IT had previously set a deadline of July 4, otherwise Twitter may have lost the intermediary status. meaning that he would have been responsible for all the comments posted on his platform.
Twitter argues in its request for judicial review that some takedown orders did not meet the procedural requirements of India’s IT law, the source said, without specifying which ones Twitter wanted to be reviewed.
The IT law allows the government to block public access to content in the interest of national security, among other reasons.
Twitter, which according to market research firms has nearly 24 million users in India, also argues in its filing that some of the orders failed to notify the authors of the content.
It also says that some were related to political content posted by the official handles of political parties, the blocking of which amounts to a violation of freedom of expression, the source added.
Tensions with the Indian government flared early last year when Twitter refused to fully comply with an order to remove accounts and posts that New Delhi said were spreading misinformation about farmers’ anti-government protests.
Earlier, Twitter banned more than 46,000 Indian user accounts in May for violating its guidelines, according to its monthly compliance report released on Sunday.
According to the report, Twitter removed 43,656 accounts for child sexual exploitation, non-consensual nudity and similar content, while 2,870 accounts were banned for promoting terrorism. The platform received 1,698 complaints in India through its local complaints mechanism between April 26, 2022, and May 25, 2022.
This includes complaints related to online abuse/harassment (1,366), hateful conduct (111), misinformation and manipulated media (36), sensitive adult content (28), and phishing (25), among others.
It also took action against 1,621 Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) during the period, which includes URLs for violating regulations related to online harassment (1,077), hateful conduct (362), and sensitive adult content (154).
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