Remove posts with abuses, rape threats, Maneka tells Twitter

Minister for Women & Child Development Maneka Gandhi.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi pulled up Twitter on Wednesday for failing to remove posts containing abuses and rape threats hurled at women on the micro-blogging site and asked it to develop a mechanism to curb the menace.

Ms. Gandhi was addressing a round-table conference on cyber crimes against women and children where representatives from Twitter, Facebook, UNICEF, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) and NASSCOM were present, among others.

“I have suggested to Twitter that it should draw a list of words such as rape, bitch, whore and other violent words and devise a way so that posts containing them can be pulled down,” Maneka Gandhi told reporters.

Several participants that The Hindu spoke to said that Twitter was rapped for not doing enough.

Many Twitter users, including television presenters and women in the public eye have often been at the receiving end of death and rape threats. Recently, UN experts asked the government to protect journalist Rana Ayyub after she was threatened with gangrape by trolls because of a fake tweet in her name.

"We’ve taken major systemic steps to improve Twitter for everyone. We have made more than 30 changes to our products, policies, and processes in the past 16 months to tackle safety, and as of April 2018, we’re taking action on 4 times the number of abusive accounts every day compared to the same time last year," a spokesperson for Twitter said in response to a query on the minister's remarks.

Hotline for flagging offensive websites

The Minister also announced that the Ministry of Home Affairs will soon be hosting a hotline where people can flag websites carrying sexually explicit images and videos of women and children so that they can be blocked and removed from the source.

A ministry official said on the condition of anonymity that the abusive material that can be reported will include child pornography, videos of rape, gang-rape and revenge porn. He said that the hotline will also help to start legal proceedings against offenders such as web portals, search engines or internet service providers.

The official added that presently such complaints are first made to the police, which forwards them to the cyber crime cell and from there they are sent to MEITY and the Department of Telecom but the government now wants to make the process faster so that such content can be blocked within 24 hours.

For the hotline to be successful, the government will also be tying up with an international alliance such as INHOPE, Internet Watch Foundation or ArachNet which are a network of hotlines that deal with illegal content online.

The ministry said that the hotline is expected to be ready in three months, but participants at the conference feel that this could take much longer because there is a need to put a framework in place, amend laws and train the analysts.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh had announced in January that a web portal would be launched which will deal with different kinds of cyber crimes such as financial frauds, child pornography and videos of sexual violence on the internet.

Nearly 27 lakh women benefited from Centre’s maternity scheme

A year since the Union Cabinet approved the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana scheme, the WCD Ministry said 26,87,803 women have benefited. This figure stood at a mere 96,000 in January, of the total estimated 51.6 lakh beneficiaries annually. Under the scheme, the government provides ₹6,000 as cash incentive as partial compensation for wage-loss.

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Printable version | May 10, 2021 3:04:48 PM |

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