Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)

Twitter blocks accounts of Jazzy B, 3 others on govt request

- Press Trust of India

Microblogg­ing platform Twitter has “withheld” the accounts of Punjabi singer Jazzy B, hip-hop artist L-fresh the Lion and two others in response to a legal demand in India, even as it draws flak over delay in complying with the new IT rules in the country.

According to an informatio­n on Lumen database, Twitter received legal request from the Indian government on June 6 for actioning four accounts, including that of Jazzy B.

Requests received by Twitter for withholdin­g content are published on Lumen database - an independen­t research project studying cease and desist letters concerning online content. Users checking Jazzy B’s account are shown a message saying “account has been withheld in India in response to a legal demand”.

When contacted, a Twitter spokespers­on said when it receives a valid legal request, it reviews it under both the Twitter Rules and local law. “If the content violates Twitter Rules, the content will be removed from the service. If it is determined to be illegal in a particular jurisdicti­on, but not in violation of the Twitter Rules, we may withhold access to the content in India only,” the spokespers­on added.

The spokespers­on noted that in all cases, it notifies the account holder directly so that they’re aware that the company has received a legal order pertaining to the account. “We notify the user(s) by sending a message to the e-mail address associated with the account(s), if available... Twitter is committed to the principles of openness, transparen­cy, details of the requests to withhold content have been published on Lumen,” the spokespers­on said.

Reports suggest that Jazzy B had frequently tweeted in support of farmers’ protests. Earlier this year, more than 500 accounts were suspended and access to hundreds of others in India blocked after the government ordered the microblogg­ing platform to restrain the spread of misinforma­tion and inflammato­ry content related to farmers’ protests. Over the past many months, Twitter has been embroiled in a number of issues.

Twitter had drawn flak after it marked several tweets by ruling BJP leaders on an alleged strategy document of the Opposition to target the government over COVID as containing ‘manipulate­d media’, triggering a sharp rebuke from the government.

The row over Twitter’s handling of certain messages had recently blown up into all-out war of words between the Centre and the social media platform. Last week, the government issued a notice to Twitter giving it one last chance to “immediatel­y” comply with the new IT rules and warned that failure to adhere to the norms will lead to the platform losing exemption from liability under the IT Act.

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