Ravi Shankar Prasad, Shashi Tharoor accounts blocked row: Parliamentary panel seeks Twitter's response
Parliament Standing Committee on Information Technology headed by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday sent a letter to Twitter seek in writing from it within two days on what basis did the social media giant blocked the accounts of Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, sources said.
Tharoor instructed the Parliamentary panel to seek reply from Twitter on the blocking of accounts of Prasad and others on its platform.
The Parliamentary panel's action comes at a time when the central government and Twitter are at loggerheads over new social media and intermediary guidelines.
Twitter had temporarily blocked Prasad's account for 1 hour on June 25 "due to a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notice only".
The Union ministry had taken strong objection to Twitter's decision to block him for an hour and termed its action as arbitrary and a gross violation of India's IT rules.
Ravi Shankar Prasad in a series of posts on Koo said, "Friends! Something highly peculiar happened today. Twitter denied access to my account for almost an hour on the alleged ground that there was a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of the USA and subsequently they allowed me to access the account."
Following Prasad's response, Tharoor tweeted that he too had faced something similar.
"Raviji, the same thing just happened to me. Clearly DMCA is getting hyperactive. This tweet has been deleted by @Twitter because its video includes the copyrighted BoneyM song 'Rasputin'," Tharoor had tweeted.
In more trouble for Twitter, the Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh governments have decided to initiate legal action against Twitter for putting up a distorted map of India. Notably, the UP Police have booked Twitter India chief Manish Maheshwari in connection with the case.
On June 28, a map on Twitter showed the Union Territories of Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir outside India. Amid huge uproar, the social media platform removed the image.
Earlier, Twitter had stoked massive controversy by showning Leh as part of China.
Twitter is facing more heat with Delhi Police registering a case against Twitter on a complaint by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) for allegedly allowing access to child pornographic videos and links on the social media platform.
"Acting on a complaint received from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights regarding the availability of child sexual abuse and child pornographic material on Twitter in the form of various accounts and links, an FIR under relevant sections of IPC, IT Act and POCSO Act has been registered by the Cyber Crime Unit, and investigation has been taken up," Delhi Police Public Relations Officer Chinmoy Biswal said.
Twitter lost its status as an intermediary platform in India
In major set back for the social media giant, Twitter lost its status as an intermediary platform in India for allegedly not fully complying with the new IT rules. The new rules came into effect on May 26.
Twitter has assured that it would comply with the new IT rules.
"We're keeping Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) apprised of progress at every step of the process. The interim Chief Compliance Officer has been retained and details will be shared with Ministry directly soon. Twitter continues to make every effort to comply with new guidelines" the Twitter spokesperson had said.