Twitter ‘concerned’ about safety of Indian staff after police visit | Social Media News

Days after police visited its offices as part of an investigation into the marking of BJP posts as manipulated, the social media company says it is concerned for the safety of its employees.

Twitter Inc says it is concerned for the safety of its staff in India, days after police visited its offices as part of an investigation into the social media company flagging some ruling party posts as manipulated .

Indian police visited the offices of Twitter on Monday to notify the microblogging company’s national head of an investigation into its labeling of a tweet by a ruling party spokesperson as “manipulated media”.

Without directly referring to the action of the Delhi Police, Twitter said on Thursday: “We, alongside many members of civil society in India and around the world, are concerned about the use of intimidation tactics by the police in response to the application of our global terms of services.”

Members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) recently shared on Twitter parts of a document they say was created by the main opposition Congress party and highlighted the government’s failures in management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Congress complained to Twitter, claiming the document was fake, after which Twitter flagged some of the posts as “manipulated media”.

Delhi police declined to comment, Reuters news agency said.

Twitter has been battling with the Indian government since February after the technology ministry asked it to block content alleging Modi’s administration was trying to silence criticism linked to farmer protests in the country.

Following the confrontation, India announced new IT rules aimed at making social media companies more accountable for legal demands to quickly delete posts.

Last month, the Indian government asked Twitter to remove dozens of tweets, including some by lawmakers from opposition parties, that criticized India’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, as cases of COVID-19 again reached a world record.

On Thursday, Twitter asked the technology ministry to give it an additional three months to comply with new content regulation rules, which include appointing an Indian complaints officer to handle complaints.

Twitter said it was deeply concerned that the rules made the compliance officer criminally liable for content on the platform, adding that the move was a dangerous excess.

India’s technology ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The new IT rules have sparked legal battles, including a lawsuit filed this week by Facebook-owned WhatsApp, which calls on the Indian government to have overstepped its legal powers by enacting rules that will force the messaging app to break the end-to-end message encryption.