India has officially stripped Twitter of liability protection for user-uploaded content as the government cracks down on the social media platform.
Similar to the regulation of social media in most democracies, India had previously granted the platform immunity from defamatory or hostile messages posted by its users.
But a new law that went into effect in May allowed the government to lift this immunity if, as in this case, Twitter was judged to have failed to respond to legal instructions to remove posts and reveal information about the identity of the posters.
India’s IT ministry told the New Delhi High Court that Twitter’s non-compliance was a violation of the regulations
of the IT Act, whereby the company loses its immunity, according to the notification of July 5th.
Relations between the government and the company deteriorated rapidly over the course of 2021, and several police proceedings have been launched against Twitter and its executives in the past few weeks.
At the beginning of this year, the company came into conflict with the Indian government refused to ban more than 1,100 accounts support a protest by farmers.
Tensions had been high in India when farmers demonstrated against it new laws for agriculture are introduced by the government.
When the country fought with COVID-19, the social media platform hosted a lot of criticism from the Indian government.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi then directed Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to remove posts, many of which criticized the government’s role in addressing the public health crisis.
Government officials said the move was taken to contain misleading content or news that could cause panic, but critics claimed the move was a barely veiled attempt to censor criticism of the government just before the elections.
Sky News analysis of the tweets the government tried to remove found the majority criticized the government’s handling of the crisis, and in some cases they have blamed Mr. Modi directly.
Last month India did the worldwide highest number of coronavirus-related deaths in a single day.
Earlier this year, in April, Sky News investigated the underreporting of deaths in various crematoria in the capital Delhi and Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh.
Results shown large deviations in actual numbers compared to those reported by the authorities.
Twitter did not comment on the story at Reuters’ request.