No video call, UP Police summon Twitter India MD Manish Maheshwari

“You couldn't remove certain tweets even after you were asked to by authorities. You understand Indian laws and are bound to follow them,
Twitter India Managing Director Manish Maheshwari has been summoned by Uttar Pradesh police for questioning on Thursday over tweets on the assault of an elderly Muslim man in Ghaziabad. This comes hours after Maheshwari had made himself available over a video call.

“You couldn’t remove certain tweets even after you were asked to by authorities. You understand Indian laws and are bound to follow them,” the notice said, according to the report.

As the issue spiralled into a major controversy, Twitter on Monday “withheld” 50 tweets related to the video. According to information on the Lumen database, Twitter received a legal request from the Centre on June 17, seeking action on 50 tweets.

These tweets have been withheld and the content could not be independently verified. Upon clicking on the blocked URLs listed on Lumen database, a message saying the tweet has been “withheld in India in response to a legal demand” is displayed. According to sources, these tweets contained content related to the said video clip.

“As explained in our Country Withheld Policy, it may be necessary to withhold access to certain content in response to a valid legal demand or when the content has been found to violate local law(s),” a Twitter spokesperson said.  

The spokesperson noted that the withholdings are limited to the specific jurisdiction/country where the content is determined to be illegal. “The legal requests that we receive are detailed in the biannual Twitter Transparency Report, and requests to withhold content are published on Lumen,” the spokesperson added.

Requests received by Twitter for withholding content are published on Lumen database — an independent research project studying cease and desist letters concerning online content.

The Ghaziabad Police have booked Twitter and six persons for circulating a video that claimed to have the elderly Muslim man saying he was allegedly thrashed and asked to chant “Jai Shri Ram”. Police said this was done to create communal unrest. The Ghaziabad Police said the assault was a personal dispute but was being painted as a communal issue on Twitter. Some media platforms and journalists were also named in the complaint. 

Maheshwari had been summoned last week for questioning by UP Police.

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