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IT ministry asks social media cos to remove more posts, alleges content ‘spreading misinformation’ about Covid-19

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) on Sunday requested social media platforms resembling Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others to remove about 100 posts and a few content that it alleged had been “unrelated, old and out of the context images or visuals, communally sensitive posts and misinformation about COVID19 protocols”, sources within the IT ministry stated.

“When the entire country is putting up a brave fight against Covid-19 pandemic, some people are misusing social media to create panic. The ministry has asked these URLs (uniform resource locator) to be removed to prevent obstructions in fight against the pandemic and escalation of public order due to these posts,” a senior IT ministry supply stated.

The newest communication was despatched by MeitY was based mostly on suggestions of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which flagged these URLs as “communally sensitive”.

Defending its newest elimination discover despatched to the social media platform, senior officers within the ministry stated that whereas social media might and was getting used to criticise the federal government, search assist and even provide options on dealing with of Covid-19 pandemic, it was additionally “necessary to take action against those users who are misusing social media during this grave humanitarian crisis for unethical purposes”.

The motion by MeitY comes a day after Twitter reported it had taken down or restricted access to over 50 tweets flagged by the Central government, by means of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology up to now one month.

The world micro-blogging platform had submitted this info to the Lumen Database, an impartial analysis challenge which research stop and desist letters surrounding on-line content.

As per the data submitted by Twitter on the Lumen Database, a few of the URLs whose entry has now been blocked in India, contained info about the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic and had been essential of the federal government’s dealing with of the identical. Some different posts and URLs, then again, confirmed photos and movies of the current Maoist ambush in Chattisgarh that left as many as 22 police personnel useless.

The tweets had been despatched by a journalist with a number one each day, a filmmaker, a Member of Parliament, a Member of Legislative Assembly, and an actor. All these tweets have been withheld in India, which implies that Twitter customers within the nation wouldn’t give you the option to view their content.

Earlier this yr, in January and February, Twitter had been within the crosshairs of the IT Ministry after the social media big had initially refused to take down sure tweets about farmer protests flagged by the ministry.

Twitter had then sought to clarify its stand on why it didn’t remove sure tweets regardless of being requested by the ministry. The defiance of presidency orders, nevertheless, didn’t sit properly with the IT Ministry, which threatened to jail Twitter India staff if the platform failed to act. Twitter India backed down, and later stated it had complied with 95 per cent of requests that the federal government had made.

The first checklist of 257 such accounts was despatched by the ministry on January 31, which was adopted by one other checklist of practically 1,200 accounts. Both lists despatched by the IT Ministry claimed that these Twitter handles had been “spreading misinformation” about the farmers’ protest, which had the potential to “lead to imminent violence affecting public order situation in the country”.

Twitter had responded by blocking a few of the accounts, however had later unblocked them — a choice which irked the IT ministry.

The platform has a number of occasions stated that it evaluations every such take-down report from the federal government “as expeditiously as possible”, and takes applicable motion according to the basic values of the corporate and its “commitment to protecting the public conversation”.

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