It is concerning to see how the Indian government is using its power to suppress dissenting voices on social media platforms like Twitter. The government’s threats to shut down Twitter and raid the homes of its employees for not complying with their demands is a clear violation of democratic principles. It is also worrying to see how social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram are being used for propaganda purposes.
“During farmer protest, Narendra Modi government pressurized us and said we will shut down your offices, raid your employees’ homes, which they did if you don’t follow suit.” – Jack Dorsey, former Twitter CEO. #TwitterCEO #FarmerProtest
— Trilok Singh🇮🇳 (@TrilokSinghLIVE) June 13, 2023
The fact that the former CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, has come forward to reveal the pressure exerted on the platform by the Indian government is a wake-up call for all of us to defend our democratic values and freedoms. It is crucial that we hold our governments accountable for their actions and ensure that our voices are heard.
Unfortunately “Indian government told Twitter to black out farmers protests tweets by journalists critical of the current regime. Threatened to shut Twitter down in India and raid the homes of Twitter employees, which they did. And India is supposed to be a democratic country.” Jack Dorsey, former CEO of Twitter said in a statement. This is how BJP is using SM for their propaganda, the situation of Facebook and Instagram are worse.
This situation highlights the significance of a free and unbiased media, including New Media (NM) and Social Media (SM), in a democratic society. It is great concerning to see the Narendra Modi regime using pressure and threats to control the narrative and silence dissenting voices. It is significant for mainstream media outlets to remain independent and report on issues without fear of retribution.
— Congress (@INCIndia) June 13, 2023
Meanwhile, On former CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey’s claim on ‘pressure’ from India, Congress party’s Chairperson of Social Media & Digital Platforms Supriya Shrinate says, “The topic of this press conference is to reveal how murder of democracy is being done in the mother of democracy. When farmers were agitating at the Delhi border for more than a year, braving winter, summer and rain, they were being called ‘mawali, Khalistani, Pakistani and terrorists’ and platforms like Twitter were being told that if they show farmers, they will be shut down in India and raided.”
ट्विटर के पूर्व सीईओ के द्वारा कहा गया कि भारत सरकार के द्वारा किसान आंदोलन के दौरान जो टि्वटर अकाउंट आंदोलन का समर्थन करते थे उन्हें बंद करने का दबाव बनाया गया,अगर यह हाल अंतर्राष्ट्रीय माध्यमों का है तो देश की न्यूज़ एजेंसी का क्या हाल होगा।
“कलम और कैमरा पर बंदूक का पहरा है” pic.twitter.com/U7MqVe771r
— Rakesh Tikait (@RakeshTikaitBKU) June 13, 2023
Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait says, “We had information that the kind of reach on Facebook and Twitter that was expected on farmers’ protest, was not coming. They used to try to stop it at their level. The Head (former CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey) has said this clearly now. But such companies don’t come under anyone’s pressure. The Govt of India must have made such attempts. What he said is correct”.
Ex-Twitter CEO said :
BJP government during farmers protests threatened :
To shut down Twitter-India offices
Raid homes of Twitter-India employees
Some have no reason to lie
Others every reason to lie !
— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) June 13, 2023
Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal says, “First of all, I would like to know, why would Jack Dorsey make such a statement? Rajeev Chandrasekhar says that this is a lie. Why would he tell a lie? There is no reason for Jack Dorsey to tell a lie that they threatened Twitter when the protests were going on, that they would shut their offices & raid the then Twitter employees. There is every reason for others to tell a lie because they can’t accept this..”
Centre dismisses Jack Dorsey’s claims
Union Minister of State for Electronics & Technology Rajeev Chandrashekhar accused Twitter of repeated violations of Indian law between 2020-2022 and said that the platform only started complying with Indian laws in June 2022. He also called Dorsey’s claims an “outright lie” and accused him of not accepting the sovereignty of Indian law. Chandrashekhar added that no one was jailed or raided during the period when Twitter was violating Indian law.
“Dorseys Twitter regime had a problem accepting the sovereignty of Indian law. It behaved as if the laws of India did not apply to it. India as a sovereign nation has the right to ensure that its laws are followed by all companies operating in India. During the protests in January 2021, there was a lot of misinformation and even reports of genocide which were definitely fake,” Chandrasekhar asserted.
This is an outright lie by @jack – perhaps an attempt to brush out that very dubious period of twitters history
— Rajeev Chandrasekhar 🇮🇳 (@Rajeev_GoI) June 13, 2023
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) stated that Twitter’s actions were “inadequate, non-compliant and violative” of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. The government has also accused Twitter of not complying with new IT rules that require social media platforms to appoint a grievance officer, a compliance officer, and a nodal officer.
Despite all of this, There were also reports of raids being conducted by the authorities on the offices of some individuals and organizations associated with the protests. So, it is unclear if these raids were specifically related to Twitter or social media. It is important to note that the farmer’s movement in India has been a complex and controversial issue, with various stakeholders and perspectives involved.
Consequently, this statement is not entirely accurate. The Indian government did not threaten to ban Twitter during the farmer’s movement. Instead, they issued a notice to Twitter asking them to remove certain accounts and tweets that they claimed were spreading misinformation and provocative content related to the protests. Twitter initially resisted the request, but eventually complied with some of the requests. However, The role of NM and SM in shaping public opinion cannot be ignored, and it is crucial for these platforms to remain neutral and not succumb to government pressure. The media must continue to hold those in power accountable and ensure that the voices of all citizens are heard.