Following some hitch with the microblogging website “Twitter“, the government has finally announced that the issue has been resolved and necessary actions will be taken the accounts of ‘miscreants’ on the website. Out of 500 million users of Twitter all over the world, 16 million are in India.
Earlier last week, Communication and IT minister Kapil Sibal had requested social networking sites to ban some accounts which carried communal differences in lieu of the recent violence against North-Eastern people. Also, firm action was demanded against some accounts which repeatedly posted pictures of Assam violence. Sibal clearly mentioned that individual targets and accounts were not being targeted but the government intended to prevent any unlawful content to be circulated on social media sites. No cooperation was provided by Twitter in the case however other internet giants, Facebook and Google extended their full support. With the servers of Twitter also being outside the jurisdiction of India, there were only reports about supposedly occurring talks between the government and the site.
Things heated when the government’s requests of blocking account impersonating PM Manmohan Singh were not paid attention to. Besides, some 28 other accounts belonging to journalists and ideologues including @redditindia, @barbarindian, @i_panchajanya, @scamsutra and @ekakizunj were asked to be blocked but in vain. To the decision, main opposition party BJP accused the government for tempering with the freedom of speech.
Finally on Friday Sibal stated on a press briefing that Twitter was now ready to cooperate and it would set up a special team to take up requests from the India to block accounts. Telecom secretary R Chandrasekhar also explained that a fast track method would be set up by Twitter to address issues raised by India.
“An arrangement has been made to have a fast track method of dealing with issues which are brought to the notice by India. I don’t think any exact timeline has been fixed. But a regular correspondence channel has been set up by the Department of IT. It will bring things to their notice faster to redress them,” Chandreshekhar further said.
Such instances of content blocking requests by the government of India are increasing every year. Risen over to 49% in 2011, around 29% of them are dealt with on the Google Platform. Now, if the whole affair is about actually preventing unlawful content from spreading or the government’s efforts to protect its integrity midst the fall is undecided. Let’s just hope technology and social media doesn’t fall prey to the government unfairness.