Twitter has a pretty well-established track record for NOT turning over user data to government entities and for not restricting users’ access – even when the accounts are a half-step shy of criminal.
Why then are folks assuming that Twitter will make an exception for the Indian government?
There are quite a few reports detailing the alleged Twitter vs India “face off” concerning government parody accounts. The Indian government is said to want Twitter to block almost 30 pages containing “morphed and inflammatory content.”
What’s the hubub?
India asserts that social media websites including Facebook and Twitter helped spread rumours last week that caused panic and an exodus of thousands of students and workers from India’s northeast because they feared retaliation for violence against Muslims.
Twitter has been trying to ramp up usage in India for a while now, but that doesn’t mean it will be any more open to these demands. It would probably encourage them to do the opposite actually!
And anyway, India’s beef with parody accounts directly conflicts with Twitter’s terms of service (that states that parody accounts ARE allowed).
And one account that keeps being referenced, PM0India, is clearly a parody. It calls itself the “UnOfficial Twitter account of the Prime Minister’s office, New Delhi. Parody account. [Bold ours.] TIME magazine called me The Underachiever.”
This current @PM0India account (it appears to have been shut down before) doesn’t have many tweets, but it has 999 followers. And another handle, @TheHinduExpress has almost 12,000 followers – and a ton of interaction to boot – so they’re popular.
And both appear to be run by the same person(s) and are asking the same questions of the Twitterverse: Is censorship okay?
So is this just wishful thinking on the Indian government’s part or do you think they have a snowball’s chance of these accounts being closed by Twitter?
(Man with tape covering mouth image from Shutterstock)