Indian home secretary meets Twitter executives, warns them of consequences if ‘unlawful’ content not removed in timeliness manner

Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Sunday pulled up Twitter India for slow response in removing what it termed were objectionable and unlawful content. He conveyed the central government’s concerns to the micrblogging site during his meeting with two top Twitter executives.

Gauba held a long discussions with  Vijaya Gadde, Global Head of Legal, Policy, Trust and Safety Lead, Twitter and Mahima Kaul, India representative of the social media platform. During the meeting Gauba reportedly said, “It has been noticed that action taken by Twitter for removing/blocking of objectionable/unlawful content has been slow in some cases and compliance for removal of unlawful content has been only about 60% even where orders have been issued by the competent authority after following due process of law.”

Gauba asked the Twitter representatives to ensure ’24×7 mechanism for prompt disposal of requisitions of law enforcement agencies for deletion/removal of unlawful/objectionable content from their platform.’ They were also reportedly advised to appoint India based contact persons who would be available round the clock, and put in place an escalation mechanism to deal with requisitions of Law Enforcement Agencies and general public for prompt removal of unlawful/objectionable content.

During the meeting, Twitter representatives were told to improve their system of response to investigations related legal requests of Law Enforcement Agencies under provisions of Criminal Penal Code and other laws. Gauba reportedly warned Twitter representatives of serious consequences for non-compliance in future since the Indian ‘law provides for strict legal provisions in case of non compliance which would need to be invoked.’

Gauba also pulled out specific instances of legal requisitions highlighting how the Delhi Police had sought for removal of content openly inciting violence where response by Twitter had been ‘neither full nor timely.’

The home secretary also said that there had been several instances in the recent past, when some objectionable content, posted on Twitter, had the potential to disturb communal harmony.

Gauba’s meeting with Twitter executives took place on a day, the microblogging site’s co-founder and CEO, Jack Dorcey was in Delhi to attend an event at IIT Delhi. In its statement, Twitter said, “Twitter has dedicated contact channels for law enforcement and we respond to legal process issued in compliance with the applicable law… Twitter is committed to working with governments around the world, including in India, to encourage healthy behaviour on the platform.”

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