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Govt has never threatened Facebook or Twitter staff with jail terms, IT ministry insists

Responding to allegations, ministry says social media platforms are obliged to follow laws and Constitution of India, like any other business.

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New Delhi: The government has never threatened employees of any social media platform, such as Twitter, of jail term, the IT Ministry has said.

Reacting to reports that alluded to Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter employees being threatened with jail term, the Ministry said social media platforms are “obliged to follow the laws of India and the Constitution of India, just like all other businesses in India have to.”

“As has been conveyed on the floor of Parliament, users of social media can criticise the government, the Prime Minister or any Minister but promotion of violence, rampant communal divide and stoking the flames of terrorism will have to be reflected upon,” it said.

The government had ordered Twitter to take down hundreds of posts, accounts and hashtags, that it saw violating rules. Twitter initially did not fully comply but fell in line after the government showed the rule book that contained penal provisions.

The IT Ministry went on to state that the recent guidelines pertaining to social media simply require the platforms to put in place a robust grievance redressal mechanism for users.

“None of the government communications, either written or oral, have ever threatened the employees of any of the social media platforms of jail term,” it said.

“The government welcomes criticism and dissent. However, of late, repeated instances of abuse of social media to foment hate, discord and violence by terrorist groups from outside India and circulation of morphed images of women, revenge porn posing threat to the safety of users especially women users have become grave concerns,” it said.

Also read: Keep us out of new rules for online content, print & TV media groups tell Modi govt 


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