Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has launched a broadside as Twitter snubs the government.
“Twitter seems to hold itself above law,” says one. “The country is governed based on constitution, not some corporate rule,” says another. Some other promotes its rival through tweets, to rub it in.
The BJP has over the past few days marshalled plenty of firepower on social media to incessantly attack the popular microblogging platform. The faceoff has only intensified since the social media firm issued a statement today in its defence over the matter of curbing free speech and following criminal laws.
BJP’s emerging star and Bengaluru South MP, Tejasvi Surya tweeted today “It (Twitter) is picking and choosing what law to follow and what not to…Requesting @Gol_MeitY to act stringently.”
The party’s National General Secretary BL Santosh, too, posted a tweet reminding Twitter that it had to adhere to the country’s rules. Both were responding to an update from the company on its recent actions in response to recent developments in India.
Following the Republic Day violence, the Central government had asked Twitter to block over 1,300 handles in all for allegedly spreading misinformation and provocation content. These included accounts by journalists, activists, and politicians. Some of these persons now face police cases for the alleged crime.
In a blog post today, Twitter said these demands of the government were inconsistent with Indian law. It refused to outright ban the handles but imposed restrictions on some of them within India.
In the past few days, Central ministers like Ravi Shankar Prasad and Piyush Goyal have been promoting Koo, a Twitter look-alike developed by a Bengaluru-based startup. Government units like the NITI Aayog, too, have logged on to this platform.
Responding to twitter’s blog, the Union Ministry of Electronics and IT, tweeted “Upon the request of Twitter seeking a meeting with the Govt., the Secretary IT was to engage with senior management of Twitter. In this light a blog post published prior to this engagement is unusual Govt. will share its response soon.”
BJP leaders have for some time expressed their bitterness over social media platforms censuring “nationalist views”.
MP Surya himself had, a few months ago, complained of arbitrary and unilateral censuring of content with a “nationalistic approach”. Only on Monday, he had attacked the Maha Vikas Aghadi government of Maharashtra for curbing free speech on Twitter. He even quoted Idi Amin to make his point.