Twitter is a California-based social media platform which allows users to read microblogs of other users that are approximately 280 characters, popularly known as Tweets. The platform is a major influence throughout the world with countless users across the globe.
India has been the victim of the ”differential treatment’ by Twitter, as the government of India calls it. Instead of correcting their actions, the micro-blogging platform has taken another step where it proves this allegation.
According to confirmed reports, the platform is expanding its identification programme which also includes labelling of accounts operated by the government officials, state-affiliated media, senior government officials and others to multiple countries except for India.
Is this not what ‘differential treatment’ looks like. However, Twitter might or might not have other plans for India, but as of now, reports are clearly terming this decision as Twitter’s differential treatment for India.
As mentioned in a report by the Indian Express, countries that are getting the new identification and labelling expansion update includes Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Honduras, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Japan, Ecuador, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Serbia, Turkey, Italy and Germany.
There are many countries where this new labelling and identification programme is not listed but the list excludes India, the country where the platform is known to have one of the largest userbases across the globe. Why is India excluded?
The reason can be because of the recent scrutiny conducted by the Indian government on Twitter for not acting upon certain accounts flagged by the government of India. A few days ago, on January 13, 2021, Twitter was called upon for a meeting with The Ministry of Electronics and Information technology. According to sources, the Ministry sent a list of 1,435 handles to Twitter in two separate orders for spreading misinformation and agitating the crowd apropos of the farmer’s protest. Twitter complied with the orders and suspended 97% of these accounts listed.
The platform previously did the same for just one day and de-flagged those accounts stating that these orders were against the public’s right to Freedom of Speech and Expression which should not be suppressed.
Following the statement, Ajay Sawhney- Indian IT Secretary held a meeting with Twitter’s top executives confronting their grievances and conveying their displeasure at length to Twitter for not complying with their emergency orders.
It is guessed that Twitter is showing its unhappiness with the Indian government by not including the country’s name on the list. The micro-blogging platform however mentioned in a statement that it has started identifying and labelling accounts of government officials, political leaders and state-affiliated media in the United States, United Kingdoms, China, Russia and France.