Twitter called the police’s recent visit to its Indian offices a form of intimidation and expressed concern about some of the requirements of New Delhi’s new IT rules.
Speaking for the first time since a special Delhi Police squad made a surprise visit to two of its offices on Monday, Twitter said it was “concerned about recent events involving our employees in India and the potential threat to freedom of speech for the people we serve. “
The company also said it joins many organizations in India and around the world who have “concerns about the use of intimidation tactics by police in response to the application of our terms of service, as well as essential elements of the new IT Rules. “
A Twitter spokesperson added: “We plan to advocate for changes to elements of these regulations that prevent free and open public conversation. We will continue our constructive dialogue with the Indian government and believe it is essential to take a collaborative approach. It is the collective responsibility of elected officials, industry and civil society to protect the interests of the public. “
Tension between US tech giants Twitter and Facebook and the Indian government has been mounting for months. Twitter has faced heat from politicians after refusing to block accounts criticizing New Delhi’s reforms and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
India is one of the biggest markets for American tech companies that have invested billions of dollars in the South Asian nation over the past decade to connect more people to the web. According to Indian government estimates, Twitter has 175 million users in India, while WhatsApp has over 530 million users.
Their tension escalated on Wednesday after WhatsApp sued the Indian government in a Delhi court over new IT rules it said would compromise user privacy and give New Delhi the power to conduct mass surveillance.
India announced the new IT rules in February and gave businesses three months to comply. The deadline expired this week and the Department of Electronics and Computing on Wednesday asked social media companies for an update on their compliance status, TechCrunch first reported.
Twitter said on Thursday that the requirements of the new IT rules to make a compliance officer criminally liable for platform content, proactive monitoring and the general power to search for user information was a dangerous overshoot that was inconsistent. with open and democratic principles.
The microblogging platform also asked New Delhi to consider granting a minimum 3-month extension to comply with the new IT rules and to publish standard operating protocols on the compliance aspects of the public consultation.
Twitter said it recently received another notice of non-compliance in India and withheld some of the content identified in the notice below. The content identified in the notice, Twitter said, was initially reported in block orders since February 2021.
He said over the past few months he had been forced to withhold content in response to a notice of non-compliance. Failure to do so, he said, results in criminal consequences with many risks for Twitter employees.