The Delhi Police on Tuesday registered an FIR against Twitter for allegedly allowing access to child pornography on the microblogging platform on a complaint by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).
This comes days after the NCPCR, the country’s apex child rights body, asked Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber Cell) Anyesh Roy to explain why no action had been taken against Twitter as per its letter to the Delhi Police dated May 29.
The move comes amid the social media platform’s tussle with the Centre over its IT rules.
This is the fourth lawsuit filed against the social media platform since it lost legal immunity for user-posted content after a protracted court battle with the government. The new case was filed under the Posco Act and the Information Technology Act.
Here are all the times Twitter got into trouble with the Indian law:
The government has slammed Twitter for deliberate defiance and failure to comply with the country’s new IT rules. The new rules which came into effect from May 25 mandate social media companies to establish a grievance redressal mechanism for resolving complaints from the users or victims. All significant social media companies, with over 50 lakh user base shall appoint a grievance officer to deal with such complaints and share the name and contact details of such officers.
On June 16, Twitter lost its legal protection in India from prosecution over users’ posts due to its failure to comply with new digital rules.
The big social media companies are mandated to appoint a chief compliance officer, a Nodal Contact Person and a resident grievance officer. All of them should be resident in India. Twitter in response to the final notice issued by the government on June 5 had said that it intends to comply with the new IT rules and will share details of the chief compliance officer. In the meantime, the microblogging platform had appointed Chatur as interim resident grievance officer for India. Twitter now displays the company’s name in the place of grievance officer for India with a US address and an email ID.
According to a government official, the company has lost legal protection as an intermediary and will be legally held responsible for all content posted by its users on the platform.
Wrong Map of India
The social media giant’s India MD Manish Maheshwari has been named in an FIR in Uttar Pradesh over an incorrect map of India which showed Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as a separate country. This is the second time Twitter has misrepresented India’s map. Earlier, it had shown Leh as a part of China. Reports said the microblogging site had removed the map after it was criticised and the government took note of it.
“This act of treason has been committed intentionally and action should be taken,” reads the complaint filed by right-wing group Bajrang Dal’s leader Praveen Bhati. The case has been filed under Section 505 (2) of the Indian Penal Code (creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) and Section 74 of IT (Amendment) Act 2008.
MP Case Over Wrong Map
Another FIR has been registered against Maheshwari in Madhya Pradesh, with the same allegation.
Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra said he has directed the state Director General of Police (DGP) Vivek Johri to investigate the matter related to the distorted map and take legal action in this direction.
“These issues cannot be taken lightly. The governments at the Centre and the state have taken it seriously,” he said in a statement posted on Twitter.
Mishra said such incidents of speaking against or doing something against the country are on the rise.
The microblogging site and several journalists were named in an FIR on June 16 for “flaring communal sentiments” after an elderly Muslim man claimed in a video that his beard was cut off and he was forced to chant “Vande Mataram” and “Jai Shri Ram”. Police, however, have ruled out any “communal angle”.
The allegation against Twitter is that it did not delete the tweet despite a clarification by the Ghaziabad police. A case under sections 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot), 153a (promoting enmity between different groups), 295a (intentions to outrage religious feeling), 505 (statement conducting public mischief) and 120b (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC has been registered at Loni police station.
Ruling out any communal angle in the case, the UP Police said Sufi Abdul Samad, the elderly man, was attacked by six men – Hindus and Muslims – who were unhappy over the amulets he had sold them. The FIR mentions several journalists – Rana Ayyub, Saba Naqvi and Mohammed Zubair as well as online news platform “The Wire”.
Amit Malviya’s Tweet Flagged
BJP’s IT cell head Amit Malviya’s tweet was in December last year flagged as “manipulated media”. “Rahul Gandhi must be the most discredited opposition leader India has seen in a long time,” Malviya had written as he quoted the Congress leader.
On November 28, Rahul had shared the picture of a policeman whipping a baton towards an old farmer who was among the protesters of anti-farm bill demonstrations at Singhu border. “It is a very sad photo. Our slogan was ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’ but today PM Modi’s arrogance made the jawan stand against the farmer,” the Congress leader had written.
Malviya quoted his tweet and uploaded a ‘Propaganda vs Reality’ video claiming the police “did not even touch the farmer.” Soon, fact-checking websites called Malviya’s claim ‘untrue’. The video that he shared to prove his point was reportedly a cropped version of the actual footage of the police action against the farmers at the Singhu border.
Twitter red flags content posted on its platform if they are “significantly and deceptively altered or fabricated, if they shared in a deceptive manner, or if they are likely to impact public safety or cause harm.” Twitter also removes content if two or more criteria are met.
Ravi Shankar’s Account ‘Denied’
Meanwhile, Minister for Electronics & Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad was on June 25 reportedly denied access to his own account on Twitter for almost an hour, government sources said. Though the Twitter account of the Minister was visible for public viewing, Twitter did not permit anyone authorized to access this account to log in or make any post, they added.
When the minister and his team tried to log in to the Twitter account @rsprasad, they were presented a message saying, “Your account has been locked because Twitter received a compliant Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Notice for content posted to your Twitter account. Under the DMCA copyright owners can notify Twitter claiming that a user has infringed their copyrighted works. Upon receipt of a valid notice, Twitter will remove the identified material. Twitter maintains a repeat copyright infringer policy under repeat infringer accounts will be suspended. Accruing multiple DMCA strikes may lead to suspension of your account.”
The minister took to indigenous social messaging app Koo and later Twitter too to share his ‘peculiar’ experience.
About an hour later, however, government sources said that Twitter allowed access to the account by posting a warning message to the minister’s account stating, “Your account is now available for use. Please be aware that any additional notices against your account may result in your account being locked again and potentially suspended. In order to avoid this, do not post additional material in violation of our Copyright Policy and immediately remove any material from your account for which you are not authorised to post.”
Sources from the minister’s team said that Twitter neither gave them any prior intimation before blocking access to the account nor did it specify any content that was found violating the US laws on copyright.
Aprameya Radhakrishna, CEO and co-founder of Koo, Twitter’s rival and homegrown social messaging app, slammed the move saying that the microblogging site should have first given a warning.