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Action will be taken if Twitter, FB platforms are misused: Govt (Ld)

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New Delhi, Feb 11 (IANS) The Centre on Thursday categorically cautioned social media platforms against spreading fake news or anything inciting violence, as Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said action will be taken if Indian laws were flouted.

“There is freedom of speech but Article 19A says that this is subject to reasonable restrictions,” the Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology told in the Rajya Sabha as he reminded platforms like Twitter and Facebook to comply with Indian rules while carrying out business.

“We respect social media a lot, it has empowered common people. Social media has a big role in the Digital India programme. However, if social media are misused to spread fake news and violence, then action will be taken on the misuse of social media in India whether Twitter or else,” said Prasad.

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He said all the social media platforms will have to adhere to the constitution of India. The Indian constitution allows criticism of the government and the Prime Minister, but spreading fake news will not be allowed, he said.

Prasad said, “We have flagged certain issues to Twitter and social media has to take into consideration of the Indian Laws if they want to do business in the country.

“Different parameters can’t be allowed for different countries. It can’t be different for the Capitol Hill incident and some other parameters and for the Red Fort incident.”

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The Indian government on Wednesday expressed displeasure over Twitter’s delayed compliance on its order to remove “provocative” tweets amid the ongoing farmers’ protests.

IT Secretary Ajay Prakash Sawhney expressed Centre’s displeasure to Twitter’s management.

An official statement issued late Wednesday night said the Secretary told Monique Meche, Vice President, Global Public Policy and Jim Baker, Deputy General Counsel and Vice President Legal of Twitter that delayed compliance to lawfully passed orders are “meaningless”.

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“Lawfully passed orders are binding on any business entity. They must be obeyed immediately. If they are executed days later, it becomes meaningless,” Sawhney was quoted as saying in the statement.

The official expressed his deep disappointment to Twitter leadership about the manner in which Twitter has unwillingly, grudgingly and with great delay complied with the substantial parts of the order, the statement said.

He also told Twitter that in India its Constitution and laws are supreme.

–IANS

miz/dpb/in

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