Anti-India posts, ads: SC notice to Centre, Twitter

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Centre and Twitter on a petition asking for a mechanism to check fake news and hate messages, seditious and incendiary content on Twitter and other social media platforms.

The petition by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vinit Goenka to regulate content on social media platforms has also sought a crackdown on ‘anti-India and venomous messages’ sent through social media aimed at provoking violence in various parts of the country.

The new petition comes at a time when the government and Twitter are at odds over 1,300 accounts or posts that were spreading ‘misinformation’ in connection with the farmers’ protest and the violence on 26 January.

The petition said there were hundreds of fake twitter handles and Facebook accounts in the name of eminent people and dignitaries and he had sought action, but none was taken. Social media accounts were used by political parties to ‘tarnish the image of opponents’, particularly during elections, the BJP leader said.

“Twitter and social media companies are profit making companies and expecting them to have safeguards for making social media safe and secure is important. The logic and algorithms that twitter use should be shared and vetted by Indian government authorities or competent authority for screening anti India tweets,” the plea said.

The court notice assumes significance in the backdrop of escalating tension between Twitter and the Centre over the former’s reluctance to comply with the Indian government’s request to block accounts ‘inciting violence and spreading misinformation’ on the platform.

The top court heard the petition at a time the government has been pressing Twitter to block nearly 1,100 accounts and posts that it says have been spreading misinformation and provocative content linked to the farmer protests against central agricultural laws since November.