Union Minister for Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad today claimed that he was made to wait for an hour to log into his Twitter account as he was denied access to his handle. Prasad shared the screenshot saying that his account was locked by Twitter on the ground that there was a violation of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act of the USA. Notably, the IT minister’s claim comes amid ongoing differences between the Government of India and the microblogging site over the new IT Rules, which Twitter is yet to fully comply with.
Prasad also said that no matter what any platform does, ‘they will have to abide by the new IT Rules fully and there shall be no compromise on that’.
“Friends! Something highly peculiar happened today. Twitter denied access to my account for almost an hour on the alleged ground that there was a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of the USA and subsequently they allowed me to access the account,” tweeted Prasad after he got the access.
It is apparent that my statements calling out the high handedness and arbitrary actions of Twitter, particularly sharing the clips of my interviews to TV channels and its powerful impact, have clearly ruffled its feathers.
— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) June 25, 2021
Prasad said that Twitter’s actions were in gross violation of Rule 4(8) of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 where the company failed to provide him with any prior notice before denying access to his account. The IT Minister, who has been constantly sharing video clips of his interviews against Twitter on Twitter for the past week, claimed that his statements calling out the high handedness and arbitrary actions of Twitter have ‘clearly ruffled its feathers’.
“Further, it is now apparent as to why Twitter is refusing to comply with the Intermediary Guidelines because if Twitter does comply, it would be unable to arbitrarily deny access to an individual’s account which does not suit their agenda. Furthermore, in the past several years, no television channel or any anchor has made any complaints about copyright infringements with regard to these news clips of my interviews shared on social media,” said the minister.
Prasad said that the action by Twitter reflects that it’s not a ‘harbinger of free speech’. “Twitter’s actions indicate that they are not the harbinger of free speech that they claim to be but are only interested in running their own agenda, with the threat that if you do not tow the line they draw, they will arbitrarily remove you from their platform,” he said.
Prasad, who also owns a handle on the Koo app which is said to be the Indian version of Twitter, posted these statements on Koo as well. Twitter has already lost the status of social intermediary in India after it failed to comply with the new Information Technology Rules which came into effect on May 26.