• Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Business

Twitter challenges India ruling on content blocking

Twitter in July 2022 sought to overturn government orders

FILE PHOTO: A worker dismantles at Twitter’s sign at Twitter’s corporate headquarters building as Elon Musk renamed Twitter as X and unveiled a new logo, in downtown San Francisco, California, U.S., July 24, 2023. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

By: Pramod Thomas

SOCIAL media platform Twitter is seeking to quash an Indian court ruling that it was not compliant with federal government orders to remove content, arguing it could embolden New Delhi to block more content and broaden the scope for censorship.

Twitter in July 2022 sought to overturn government orders to remove some content from its platform. A court in June 2023 quashed that request and imposed a fine of Rs 5 million (£47,363).

Twitter has now appealed against that decision, arguing in a 96-page filing that the government “will be emboldened to issue more blocking orders” that violate law. The filing, which was dated Aug. 1 but has not been posted publicly, was submitted by local law firm Poovayya & Co at the Karnataka High Court.

The original lawsuit predates Twitter’s ownership by billionaire Elon Musk, who is also pursuing a number of business enterprises in India.

The Tesla chief executive is discussing an investment proposal to set up a factory there making electric vehicles, and is seeking market entry for his satellite broadband firm SpaceX.

Twitter said in the filing there must be “discernible parameters” on what mandates the blocking of an entire account instead of a specific post. Otherwise the government’s “power to censor future content is untrammeled”.

Court hearings are typically held within several days after a filing is submitted.

The company in previous years has been asked by Indian authorities to act on content including accounts deemed supportive of an independent Sikh state, posts alleged to have spread misinformation about protests by farmers, and tweets critical of the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

(Reuters)

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