Twitter, in its statement on Thursday, said it plans to advocate for changes to elements of these regulations that inhibit free, open public conversation
Without naming Delhi Police, Twitter said it has concerns with regards to the use of “intimidation tactics by the police”. In its statement, Twitter clarified its stance regarding the new IT rules and also its reaction to the recent visit of the Delhi police team to its office.
Twitter on Thursday said it is concerned about the safety of its India staff as it indirectly described the recent visit of a team of Delhi Police’s Special Cell at its New Delhi office as “use of intimidation tactics by the police”.
Reiterating its commitment to serve the people of India, the microblogging platform said it will continue its constructive dialogue with the Indian government. “It is the collective responsibility of elected officials, industry, and civil society to safeguard the interests of the public.”
The statement comes amid Twitter’s long-drawn battle with the government which started around January-February this year. The tussle has been going on as the Centre has accused Twitter of dragging its feet in blocking content flagged by the Centre, while Twitter defended its action citing freedom of speech. This is also Twitter’s first official response regarding the new IT rules which were announced on February 25 and the social media intermediaries operating in India were given three months’ time to comply.
Adding to the ongoing disagreement between the government and the social media platform, Delhi Police on Monday visited the Twitter office to serve a notice to Twitter’s India head for tagging a tweet of BJP spokesperson as “manipulated media”.
Combining both the issues, Twitter issued a statement in which it cleared that the new IT rules have elements that inhibit free conversation and, at present, Twitter has pressing issues like the “safety of its employees in India”.
“To keep our service available, we will strive to comply with applicable law in India. But, just as we do around the world, we will continue to be strictly guided by principles of transparency, a commitment to empowering every voice on the service, and protecting freedom of expression and privacy under the rule of law,” it said.
“Right now, we are concerned by recent events regarding our employees in India and the potential threat to freedom of expression for the people we serve. We, alongside many in civil society in India and around the world, have concerns with regards to the use of intimidation tactics by the police in response to enforcement of our global Terms of Service, as well as with core elements of the new IT Rules,” it added.
It, however, plans to “advocate for changes to elements of these regulations that inhibit free, open public conversation” and for that, the ongoing constructive dialogue with the Centre will continue, it said.