Indian government calls on Twitter to curb inflammatory tweets

22 Aug 2012

The government of India has called on Twitter to join Google and Facebook in removing inflammatory hate messages to help prevent rising violence in northeast India between Muslims and indigenous communities that has seen up to 80 people killed.

It is understood that the Indian government has blocked as many as 245 web pages for hosting video clips and other content that are contributing to the violence.

Rumours of potential attacks in Assam spread via SMS, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other outlets has helped ignite panic among tens of thousands of students and workers causing them to flee the area.

Facebook, which has 50m users in India, is complying with requests to remove the hate material.

The Indian government has also requested Google, Twitter and Microsoft to remove the material and it is understood that all have complied so far, except Twitter.

According to the Times of India Twitter may face legal action if it doesn’t comply.

In January Twitter said it will censor content – or pull tweets – on a country-by-country basis based on national freedom of expression laws.

“One of our core values as a company is to defend and respect each user’s voice. We try to keep content up wherever and whenever we can, and we will be transparent with users when we can’t. The tweets must continue to flow,” Twitter said in a blog post at the time.

Indian flag via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years