OpinionEdit Corner

India goes ahead with ‘Operation Crack Jack’ on Twitter

The Indian government has initiated ‘Operation Crack Jack’ on the social media platform Twitter.

Twitter assumed its boots to be bigger than that of the Indian government and Jack thought that his beanstalk could grow unchecked in India’s garden spreading poisonous fruits.

The Indian government has decided to cut down the beanstalk of Jack – Twitter – to the compatible size of the new Information Technology Rules for social media platforms. If Twitter fails to further compliance Jack’s beanstalk will be chopped off permanently.

The Union Minister for Law and Justice, Communications, Electronics & Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad has turned to Indian social media platform Koo to continue its jacking of Twitter.

In a series of Koos, Ravi Shankar Prasad expresses his disappointment in Twitter’s deliberate defiance to comply with India’s new IT rules: He said:

There are numerous queries arising as to whether Twitter is entitled to safe harbor provision. However, the simple fact of the matter is that Twitter has failed to comply with the Intermediary Guidelines that came into effect from the 26th of May. Further, it was given multiple opportunities to comply with the same, however, it has deliberately chosen the path of non-compliance.

The culture of India varies like its large geography. In certain scenarios, with the amplification of social media, even a small spark can cause a fire, especially with the menace of fake news. This was one of the objectives of bringing the Intermediary Guidelines.

It is astounding that Twitter which portrays itself as the flag bearer of free speech, chooses the path of deliberate defiance when it comes to the Intermediary Guidelines.

Further, what is perplexing is that Twitter fails to address the grievances of users by refusing to setting up process as mandated by the law of the land. Additionally, it chooses a policy of flagging manipulates media, only when it suits, its likes and dislikes.

What happened in U.P. was illustrative of Twitter’s arbitrariness in fighting fake news.  While Twitter has been over enthusiastic about its fact checking mechanism, it’s failure to act in multiple cases like U.P. is perplexing as well as points towards its inconsistency in fighting misinformation.

Indian companies be it Pharma or IT or others that go to do business in USA or in other foreign countries, voluntarily follow the local laws. Then why are platforms like Twitter showing reluctance in following Indian laws designed to give voice to the victims of abuse and misuse? 

The rule of law is the bedrock of Indian society. India’s commitment to the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech was yet again reaffirmed at the G7 summit. However, if any foreign entity believes that they can portray itself as the flag bearer of free speech in India to excuse itself from complying with the law of the land, such attempts are misplaced.

Twitter has lost its status as an intermediary platform in India due to non-compliance with new IT rules. This means instead of being considered just a platform hosting content from various users, Twitter will be directly editorially responsible for posts published on its platform.

The decision of the Indian government to initiate ‘Operation Crack Jack’ on Twitter has come at an opportune time when the bias of Twitter towards India, the Indian government, and issues pertaining to the social and secular nature of the people of India was coming to light.

Twitter chose to defy the Indian government and not comply with the new IT rules. It assumed a position in India of sovereignty higher than the sovereignty of a democratic nation such as India.

Jack Dorsey and his team working on the beanstalk Twitter assumed, that, because of the possessed magically seeds of communication and people in India gravitated to the social media platform, it could bear poisonous fruits and allow for repeated misinformation and lies spread by people it had verified with a blue tick to be torchbearers of democracy, most of whom, belonged to a political ideology that suited Jack’s political interest at that time.

Now that Twitter has lost the intermediary platform status it will be a publisher of content and will come under the ambit of the Indian laws with regards to content published on its platform. Twitter will now become responsible for the lies it allows to spread on India on its platform.

Jack exposed his bias against the Narendra Modi-led government often. Twitter thought it could continue to provoke the Indian government and felt by applying pressure through its supporter base mostly from the Opposition and Anti-Modi Brigade it could get away with defying Indian laws and guidelines. Now, it will have to be sure about the content posted on its social media platform or it can leave India for good. It will not be allowed to take sides against India’s interests.

Operation Crack Jack on Twitter had just fired its first salvo:

The Uttar Pradesh (UP) Police have registered a case against social media website Twitter, news portal The Wire, journalists Rana Ayyub and Saba Naqvi, Congress politicians Shama Mohamed, Salman Nizami and Maskoor Usmani and Alt news co-founder Mohammed Zubair among others for tweeting a video from Ghaziabad showing a Muslim man’s beard being chopped off by some attackers

While the video was portrayed as an attack on Muslim man by Hindus, the UP Police has maintained that the attackers were both Hindus and Muslims and the reason for the attack was a personal dispute between the man and his attackers.

FIR was registered against for offences under Sections 153 (provocation to cause riot), 153A (promoting enmity between religious groups), 295A (insulting religious beliefs), 505 (public mischief), 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

If Twitter behaves it will be allowed to continue in India. Otherwise, Operation Crack Jack will intensify.

 

Savio Rodrigues

Savio Rodrigues Founder & Editor-in-Chief GoaChronicle.com
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