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Twitter violated principle of natural justice with ‘manipulated media’ tag, says goverment

The government on Wednesday said that the labelling of tweets as “manipulated media” by Twitter does not come under the purview of the new IT Rules. However, the U.S.-headquartered microblogging platform has been told that by doing so it violates “the principle of natural justice”.

In May this year, the government had asked Twitter to remove the “manipulated media” tag from certain tweets by some Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including the party’s national spokesperson Sambit Patra, related to a “Congress toolkit” allegedly used to defame the government’s efforts related to COVID-19. The government had reasoned that “the tags affixed prejudicially” should be removed in the interests of fairness and equity, and that investigation by law enforcement agencies would determine the veracity of the content.

Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha: “The issue of labelling of user tweets as manipulated media does not come under the purview of the above said Rules. Further, on the issue of manipulated media, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has pointed out to Twitter that they are violating the principle of natural justice and urged Twitter to be transparent and equitable in applying the criteria.”

The Minister added that, according to Twitter, the labelling of certain messages as “manipulated media” had been done as per their “Synthetic and Manipulated Media Policy”. “However, no specific details of how this policy became applicable have been shared. Government has been engaged with Twitter on this issue,” he said.

Mr. Chandrasekhar added that the government had enacted the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, to create accountability from intermediary platforms and enhance user safety.

On May 26, 2021 when the new rules came into force, Twitter was non-compliant in these Rules because it did not appoint key functionaries, including a Chief Compliance Officer, a Nodal Contact Person and a Resident Grievance Officer, he added.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 9:02:30 AM |

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