BJP Karnataka’s tweets on the hijab ban in the state’s schools and colleges were taken down by Twitter citing a violation of the platform’s rules. The tweets, which contained information about the addresses of minors protesting the ban, now read ‘This tweet is no longer available because it violated the Twitter rules’.
“You may not publish or post other people’s private information (such as home phone number and address) without their express authorization and permission. We also prohibit threatening to expose private information or incentivizing others to do so.” — Twitter Rules
Content moderation has been tricky for Twitter in India as the last time the platform took action against the ruling party’s tweets, it had resulted in a police raid and Twitter India’s then-Managing Director Manish Maheshwari being hauled in for questioning by the police.
Earlier, Congress party faced action for posting a photo
In August last year, after reposting a photo of Rahul Gandhi with the parents of an underaged rape victim, Twitter accounts of the Congress party, and at least 6 senior party leaders (including Gandhi) were locked while tweets by 37 other Congress-associated accounts were blocked. Twitter had told MediaNama that their reason for taking action against such content and accounts was to “protect individuals from coming to physical harm as a result of their information being shared on Twitter.” The account was withheld until Gandhi submitted a consent letter from the parents to post the picture, nine days later, after which the account was restored.
Twitter’s run-ins with the Indian authorities
The National Commission of Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had sent Twitter four notices to censor tweets by Rahul Gandhi and Congress politicians. It is not clear if the NCPCR has done the same in the case of BJP Karnataka.
Twitter has previously been in the crosshairs of the NCPCR for child sexual exploitation, adoption, nudity-related content, etc. on its site.
- In September 2020, Twitter had been asked to provide relevant information to the NCPCR, after the latter filed a complaint against three Twitter users for allegedly ‘harassing and torturing’ a minor girl on social media.
- On June 14, the Commission had written to social media giants Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Telegram over illegal adoption posts on their platforms for children who have been orphaned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- On June 30, the Commission had registered a case with the Delhi Police’s Cyber Cell against Twitter Inc for allegedly having child pornographic and sexual abuse content on their platform.
- On July 6, the Commission had asked Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Dilbag Singh to file a case against Twitter on charges of “encouraging people to involve children into terrorism”. According to the Hindustan Times, it cited a video on the platform that showed a child firing in the air.
According to the IT Rules 2021, social media intermediaries like Twitter have to voluntarily remove any content violating any Indian law, especially those relating to child abuse.
- Delhi HC issues notice to Twitter over Rahul Gandhi’s tweet: Report
- How child rights body NCPCR is justifying censorship of Rahul Gandhi, Congress members
- RTI Exclusive: NCPCR sent 7 takedown notices since IT rules came into effect
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