back to article India tells Twitter to obey its laws — or make wielding them easier

India has again expressed severe displeasure with Twitter, following three different incidents embroiling the micro-blogging service in a complex debate about sovereignty and censorship and possibly making the company liable for its users’ posts. The core of the ongoing dispute is India’s Information Technology (Intermediary …

  1. rjed
    Big Brother


    Govt wants Twitter to dance to its Kumbaya. Democracy is vibrant not because of the people who lay rules but also because of the people who question it. Anyone who reads "Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code" will understand how vague it is and there is no surprise that Twitter couldn't find anyone in India to be the Nodal Officer. Anyone who gets that post will be slaughtered on day one.

    Regulators need to be cautious of what tech tweaks they ask for. These tweaks can make or break a democracy.

    For me, I have not used Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, but I am worried about Reddit, Signal. It would be interesting to see how Govt deals with them.

  2. Kurgan

    India is not a democracy. Or at least not anymore.

  3. Ashto5

    Democracy ??

    How can democracy really exist when in the rich and powerful can be elected ?

    The UK 2.5 party system is a demonstration in a system that no longer represents its people.

    No party elected in the UK has ever had a majority of 50%+ of the electorate.

    They get by on 60% turn out resulting in governments voted in by 33% of the population.

    India is the same I believe, right family right connections

    1. First Light

      Re: Democracy ??

      No. India is significantly more corrupt. Votes are bought before elections and there are many examples of those who are elected being bribed to switch parties afterwards.

    2. teknopaul

      Re: Democracy ??

      You can't _necessarily_ blame low turn out on those that eventually get elected. Much of a low turnout is apathy.

      Thing about politics is that most people don't want to do it. Provided there is pan y circo.

      Representative Democracy is far from perfect but it is the best option we have to peacefully eject those that take the piss.

      If you present a better alternative the world is probably up for it.

      Societies often prefer "benevolent dictator for life" to democracy. Dictators are two a penny, benevolent ones are harder to find.

    3. sebacoustic

      Re: Democracy ??

      Wait a minute, you're not quoting the correct numbers...

      > 60% turn out resulting in governments voted in by 33%

      Turnout in 2019 was 67.5% and the winners' share of the popular vote was 43.6% that makes about 29% of electorate supporting BoJo & cronies. To give them some credit, 43.6 was some sort of a record and usually this is even worse.

      My point is that because of "first past the post" and various gerrimandering efforts, it's not a majority that chooses the big cheeses.

    4. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Democracy ??

      "No party elected in the UK has ever had a majority of 50%+ of the electorate."

      Pretty sure that was commonplace up until 1930 or so. Never since, though, so your basic point stands.

  4. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Pick and choose

    They are kidding themselves, big companies get to pick and choose which laws they obey or not.

    If a politicians screams that this and that law needs to be obeyed, this likely means they are just negotiating a "donation".

    1. First Light

      Re: Pick and choose

      This is more about political power rather than bribe-seeking. It's an attack on freedom of speech. The laws have been designed to rein in the expression of dissent.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Pick and choose

        The EU has adopted the same rules (TERREG) and I think these will be implemented within a year (need for a company censorship officer in the EU and 1hr SLA for content removal)

        So it will be interesting to watch how those giants will play the ball.

        It's not like Twitter suddenly started embracing the freedom of speech.

        1. genghis_uk

          Re: Pick and choose

          Twitter does not have to embrace freedom of speech - it is a private company. You have to conform to Twitter's terms of service which does not meant a free for all.

          Governments that should ensure freedom of speech by allowing people to criticise and discuss without harassment. India's government is blatantly failing this test.

        2. rjed

          Re: Pick and choose

          Content removal is very different from identifying who the first originator of that content is.

          Content removal is already done today by Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and there is a process in place. It can be argued whether or not that process is correct or not.

          The problem with identifying who the first originator of the content leads to other problems. Primarily, the govt or any other agency can go after that originator.

  5. Neel

    The US government has been sued for using Twitter and other tech companies to suppress speech

    We regularly accuse (rightfully) Chinese companies of being state sponsored, but fail to see this with US big tech. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, is the modern tool for foreign interference. India has a right to make sure these countries/multinationals don’t interfere. TikTok has already got a hold in the west, but is banned in India.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: "the modern tool for foreign interference"

      Said modern tool is more down to the ignorance and stupidity of a portion of the US population than any particular platform.

      The damage Fox News is doing on a daily basis greatly outpaces anything any foreign influence could possibly hope to attain.

      The USA needs to pour a lot more money into educating its huddled masses, but I'm sure Republicans will do their best to keep that from happening. They need the stupid to stay in power.

    2. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

      Yes, the government is being sued. This happens all the time. In this case, the "news" site reporting the suit is a far-right propaganda outlet. Got any better sources?

      1. John Savard

        So I take it that the government is being sued because it told Twitter and Facebook to ban Donald Trump? Well, people are free in the United States to waste their money on lawyers however they want, I guess.

  6. myithingwontcharge

    Elephant in the room....

    Is that TV channel really called Cable News Network News 18?

    I'll get my coat. :-)

  7. John Savard

    They Can Always Block It

    I take it that Twitter does not currently have any employees in India that the government of India could put in jail, otherwise it would not be resisting the government's directives. I'm not surprised that Twitter would not wish to change that under current circumstances.

    Of course India can always block Twitter, but for Twitter not wishing to aid and abet the destruction of democracy in India by the BJP, which is an extremist Hindu nationalist party, is entirely reasonable.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: They Can Always Block It

      But what if they block Twitter (and Facebook) and the sky *doesn't* fall in? One billion people managing without social media might set a terrible example to the rest of the world.

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