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Indian police visit Twitter offices after govt tweet flagged

AFP

clock 2 min read

Activists place a banner with a picture of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a message in Punjabi reading "Mr Modi. Why did you send our vaccines abroad," in Amritsar, May 18, 2021.
Narinder Nanu/AFPActivists place a banner with a picture of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a message in Punjabi reading "Mr Modi. Why did you send our vaccines abroad," in Amritsar, May 18, 2021.

Social media company once again finds itself embroiled in politics and questions of free speech

Police in India's capital served a notice at Twitter's offices late Monday, seeking information for a complaint about why a tweet by the spokesperson of the ruling Hindu-nationalist (BJP) party was tagged as "manipulated media."

It is the latest incident in a series of tensions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi’ administration and the US social media giant. New Delhi is increasingly sensitive to social media led opposition towards its agenda for agricultural reform, and critical voices in its handling of COVID-19. 

The government last month ordered Twitter and Facebook to remove dozens of posts critical of Modi's handling of the pandemic, with the death total from the virus passing 300,000 today.  

The tweet in question, by BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra, was flagged by Twitter following a complaint from the opposition Congress party, that alleged a fake document was being shared.

Delhi Police confirmed to AFP that they had gone to Twitter's offices to serve the notice about the tweet, but called it part of a "routine process."

A Twitter spokesperson told AFP it had "no comment" about the visit.

Under Twitter's rules, a post is tagged as "manipulated media" if it includes "media (videos, audio, and images) that have been deceptively altered or fabricated."

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