Twitter called the recent visit by police to its Indian offices as a form of harassment and expressed concern about the requirements of New Delhi’s new IT rules.
Twitter is the first time since a special police group in Delhi paid a surprise visit to two of its offices, saying that Twitter is “concerned about the recent events related to our workers in India and the potential threat to freedom of expression of the people” we serve. ‘
The company also said that it joins many organizations in India and around the world that are “concerned with the use of intimidation tactics by the police in response to the application of our terms of service, as well as important elements of new IT regulations.”
A Twitter spokesman added:
“We intend to support changes to elements of these regulations that prevent public and free conversations. We will continue our constructive dialogue with the Government of India and we believe that a combined approach is essential. It is the joint responsibility of elected officials, industry, and civil society to protect the public’s interests. “
Tensions between the American tech giant Twitter and Facebook and the Indian government have been building for months. Twitter was criticized by politicians for refusing to block accounts that criticized the reforms in New Delhi and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
India is one of the largest markets for U.S. technology companies, which have invested billions of dollars in the country in the past decade to bring more people online. According to Indian government estimates, Twitter has 175 million users in India, while WhatsApp has amassed more than 530 million users. Tensions rose on Wednesday after WhatsApp sued the Indian government in Delhi over new IT regulations that would jeopardize users’ privacy and enable New Delhi to conduct large-scale surveillance.
India announced the new IT rules in February, giving companies three months to comply with them. The deadline expired this week, and on Wednesday, the Electronics and IT Department asked social media companies for an update on their compliance status, as reported by TechCrunch.
Twitter said on Thursday that the new IT rules that require a compliance officer to be criminally responsible for the content of the platform, proactive monitoring, and general authority to search for user information pose a dangerous threat that violates the principles of openness and democracy.
The microblogging platform also asked New Delhi to consider allowing a minimum three-month extension to comply with the new IT rules and to publish standard operating protocols on aspects of public consultation compliance.
Twitter recently said it received a notice of non-compliance in India and is maintaining some of the content stated in the notice. The content identified in the announcement was initially reported in order block since February 2021, according to Twitter.
In the past few months, she said she was forced to refuse the content in response to a notice of non-compliance. Failure to do so will have criminal consequences with many risks for Twitter employees.