Twitter says concerned about employee safety in India, potential threat to freedom of expression

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<p>Twitter has said that it is concerned for the safety of its India employees after Delhi police visited their office earlier in the week</p> (AFP via Getty Images)

Twitter has said that it is concerned for the safety of its India employees after Delhi police visited their office earlier in the week

(AFP via Getty Images)

Days after a police visit to their offices in Delhi, Twitter has said it is concerned for the safety of its employees in India.

On Monday, a team of Delhi Police’s Special Cell had visited Twitter India’s offices as part of a probe related to the social media platform’s tagging of some ruling party posts as “manipulated media”. The opposition labelled the raid an attempt at “intimidation”.

A Twitter spokesperson said: “We, alongside many in civil society in India and around the world, have concerns with regards to the use of intimidation tactics by the police in response to enforcement of our global Terms of Service.”

Leaders of the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had tweeted portions of a document and said that it was created by the main opposition party, the Indian National Congress, to highlight government failures in handling the Covid-19 pandemic in the country. The BJP had accused Congress of creating the “toolkit”.

Congress denied the claims and filed a police complaint against the BJP politicians who had posted about the “toolkit”, after which Twitter flagged the BJP tweets.

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As part of its visit to Twitter’s offices Delhi Police also served a notice to Manish Maheshwari, Twitter India’s managing director. The notice said: “During the course of the investigation [of the toolkit], it has come to our knowledge that you (Twitter India) are acquainted with the facts of the matter and are in possession of information with regard to the same.”

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Twitter also said that it was concerned about the “potential threat to freedom of expression for the people we serve.”

On 25 February, India announced new IT rules that aim to make platforms like Twitter more accountable to legal requests for the swift removal of posts.

Twitter has criticised these new IT rules and regulations saying that they will “inhibit free, open public conversation.”

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