Screening anti-India tweets, hateful ads: SC issues notice to Twitter, Centre

Screening anti-India tweets, hateful ads: SC issues notice to Twitter, Centre

The court notice assumes significance in the backdrop of escalating tension between Twitter and the Centre

The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the Centre and Twitter on a petition asking for a mechanism to check fake news and hate messages, seditious and incendiary content on Twitter and other social media platforms.

The notice was issued as the apex court took up a petition filed by BJP leader Vinit Goenka in May last year, asking for a mechanism to check Twitter content and advertisements spreading hatred through fake news and instigative messages though fake accounts. The petition said there were hundreds of fake twitter handles and Facebook accounts in the name of eminent people and dignitaries.

Screening anti-India tweets, hateful ads: SC issues notice to Twitter, Centre
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"Twitter and social media companies are profit making companies and expecting them to have safeguards for making social media safe and secure is important. The logic and algorithms that twitter use should be shared and vetted by Indian government authorities or competent authority for screening anti India tweets", the plea filed in May 2020 said.

Advocate Ashwini Kumar Dubey, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that petition seeks a mechanism to screen hateful advertisements and anti-India content on Twitter, LiveLaw reported.

The court notice assumes significance in the backdrop of escalating tension between Twitter and the Centre over the former's reluctance to comply with the Indian government's request to block accounts "inciting violence and spreading misinformation" on the platform.

Interestingly, Goenka has been targeting Twitter for about a year. In a Zoom conference titled “Twitter_Anti_India” last year, Goenka had alleged that the microblogging platform was supporting terrorism and wanted it to be declared a terrorist organisation. Goenka, who was previously heading BJP’s IT cell, also wanted Twitter’s public policy officials to be booked with charges of sedition. Goenka has particularly taken issue with Twitter for allowing the paid promotion of a tweet by separatists that calls for a referendum on the Khalistan issue.

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