Twitter worried about staff in India after visit by police


Twitter on Thursday expressed concern over the safety of its staff in India after New Delhi police visited the company’s office in the capital.

Police went to the office following Twitter’s labeling of a ruling party official’s tweet as misleading.

The social media giant issued its response in a thread posted to the company’s public policy account early Thursday.

“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,” the company wrote.

Twitter went on to say that it has “concerns with regards to the use of intimidation tactics by the police in response to enforcement of our global Terms of Service, as well as with core elements of the new IT Rules.”

The new rules in India announced in February seek to hold social media platforms more accountable for content shared on their platforms, including requiring companies to identify the origins of “mischievous information” and demanding they erase content authorities determine to be unlawful, according to The Associated Press.

Twitter said Thursday that it plans “to advocate for changes to elements of these regulations that inhibit free, open public conversation,” as well as “continue our constructive dialogue with the Indian Government.”

“We believe that it is the collective responsibility of elected officials, industry, and civil society to safeguard the interests of the public,” Twitter wrote. 

Police said they visited Twitter’s office on Monday because it appeared as though “Twitter has some information which is not known to us on the basis of which they have classified it as such.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that the visit occurred after Twitter labeled a tweet from Bharatiya Janata Party spokesman Sambit Patra misleading. 

The tweet included a document that claimed to be an instruction guide from the opposition party on how to condemn India’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The AP reported that some leaders of India’s Congress argued that the document was forged, prompting Twitter to mark some of the posts containing the guide “manipulated media.”

According to Twitter’s platform rules, the company applies the “manipulated media” tag to posts that have been “deceptively altered or fabricated.”

India’s new regulations have prompted pushback from other tech companies, including WhatsApp, which filed a lawsuit in Delhi High Court on Wednesday alleging that the rules that require it to make its encrypted messages “traceable” to third-party groups violate users’ rights to privacy.

Tags Data privacy Freedom of expression India New Delhi social media regulations Tech giants The Associated Press The Wall Street Journal Twitter WhatsApp

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