Goenka filed the petition after he noticed a tweet in 2019 — posted by Sikhs for Justice, an organisation outlawed by the government that year — which appeared as a promoted (or paid) content on his timeline.
Because Twitter and social media firms are profit-making entities, expecting them to have safeguards for making social media safe and secure is important, the petition added. It further said that the logic and algorithms that Twitter uses should be shared and vetted by government authorities or any “competent authority for screening anti-India tweets”.
The Supreme Court
notice comes even as the government and Twitter are engaged in a public standoff involving content takedown requests made by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to the microblogging platform.
MeitY had asked Twitter to remove content and accounts allegedly amplifying the hashtag #ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide, which was trending on Twitter around January 30. The government had asked for the removal of the hashtag, which was related to the ongoing farmer protests in Delhi, arguing the use of the word “genocide” could lead to the disruption of law and order.
Twitter took action on hundreds of accounts that violated Twitter Rules and had the potential to incite harm, prevented some terms from trending and suspended over 500 accounts. It did not fully comply with the MeitY orders to block some accounts. MeitY followed up by serving a non-compliance notice to Twitter.
MeitY later also asked Twitter to block another 1,200 accounts that were flagged by security agencies as those of Khalistan sympathisers or backed by Pakistan.
Twitter did not remove all the accounts, saying it believes it "would violate their (account users) fundamental right to free expression under Indian law".
IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, speaking in Parliament on Thursday, issued a stern warning to social media firms operating in India, and said they were free to do business in India but must respect the law of the land.
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