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Friday Jun 18 2021
By
Reuters

Twitter’s India woes worsen as police summon chief over viral video

By
Reuters

LUCKNOW: Police in India have summoned Twitter's top official in the country to answer allegations that the U.S. firm failed to stop the spread of a video that allegedly incited "hate and enmity" between Hindu and Muslim communities.

An official police notice, seen by Reuters, showed a case had been registered in Ghaziabad in northern Uttar Pradesh state over a video of a few men, apparently Hindu, beating an elderly man believed to be a Muslim and cutting his beard.

The police report names Twitter Inc, its local unit and seven others for their alleged roles in disseminating a video that was deemed insulting to religious beliefs and causing public mischief in a state with a long, bloody history of communal violence.

Read more: India claims Twitter ignoring new rules as feud escalates

The controversy comes just as India's federal government is locking horns with Twitter over non-compliance with new IT rules, which have raised doubts whether the platform would continue to enjoy protection against legal liability for user-generated content. The new rules became effective in late May.

In a notice dated Thursday, Ghaziabad police wrote to Twitter India head Manish Maheshwari to appear before officials within seven days of the receipt of the summons.

"Some people used their Twitter handles to spread hatred and enmity in the society and Twitter did not take cognisance," said the notice, which was reviewed by Reuters.

"Writings and works which promoted enmity and affected harmony between different communities in the country and the state were encouraged and such anti-society messages were allowed to go viral."

Read more: Will India ban WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram?

Twitter declined to comment, and Maheshwari did not respond to a request for comment.

IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad lashed out at Twitter this week for the Ghaziabad incident, saying its failure to act was "perplexing."