Just a few days back, the billionaire CEO had started following Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter. In an interview conducted by the British Broadcasting Channel on April 12th, the CEO of the blue bird company agreed to comply with Indian laws and said that Twitter cannot go ahead of the country’s regulations. Reports suggest that the BBC reporter did not schedule an appointment prior to the interview and was surprisingly granted an on spot interview with Musk. He questioned the Chief Executive on a series of topics that have been prevalent on social media in the last few months including Twitter layoffs, wrong information and his unique habits at work. He was also asked if he was aware of the ongoing tussle with the Indian Government.
The ongoing tussle between Twitter and GOI:
After a request by the Central Government of India to remove some tweets related to a recent BBC documentary on PM Modi, the social media giant has been involved in legal trouble with the government.
The BBC documentary:
In January this year, a documentary by the publicly funded broadcasting channel was aired. The documentary started a controversial debate after refreshing the memories of the 2002 Gujarat riots. According to BBC, it serves as a means to investigate the allegations against BJP which claim that the Centre has a wrong attitude towards the largest religious minority in the country: Muslims.
The series also touched upon a very sensitive topic in Indian politics, the riots between the Hindu and Muslim communities of Gujarat in 2002. Although, official sources claim that this 3-day massacre led to 790 Muslim and 254 Hindu deaths, there are other sources which claim that the number was over 2000. At the time the riots took place, Mr. Narendra Modi was the Chief Minster of Gujrat. The documentary discusses the controversial topic of the now Prime Minister’s involvement in the riots.
After the release of the documentary, it sparked a heated debate amongst supporters of the prime minister and others who blame him for the riots. The government asked the company to remove certain tweets about the documentary which they felt were particularly derogatory to the Prime Minister. The web series was also banned in the country following which the Centre was accused of censoring the media.
The IT Rules, 2021:
Recently, the Centre had made multiple additions to the IT rules of 2021 allowing them to decide if a news is fake and identify the spread of misleading information. As per another addition to the IT Rules, social media users would now be obliged to not publish and share any ‘fake’ information about the government. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology announced that a new agency will be introduced to identify and regulate the circulation and flagging of fake news on social media platforms. They further added that the agency would work as a part of the IT ministry.
Musk’s response to questions about the documentary and hate news on the platform:
In the interview with BBC, he said that he is unaware of what exactly happened in the 2002 Gujarat riots. He further added that the social media laws of the country are quite strict. He said that if he had to choose between his employees going to jail or just follow the regulations, he would choose the latter.
When questioned about the increase in hate speech on the platform, the CEO did not take it easy on the interviewer. What is even more interesting is that this rather embarrassing scene for the reporter was not omitted out of the BBC report which only beat around the bush while mentioning Musk’s response.
A user on Twitter has shared the video clip of that particular portion of the interview where Elon could be seen giving the BBC reporter a hard time.
BBC reporter arrives unannounced at Twitter HQ.
Elon grants them an on-the-spot interview.
Big mistake, BBC.
Watch @elonmusk end this reporters career in 27 seconds flat.
This is what instant regret looks like:pic.twitter.com/P2nIfIfQia
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) April 12, 2023