Officials from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) have come after US tech giants for their inaction on fake news.
As reported by Reuters, Indian officials have held heated discussions with Google, Twitter and Facebook for not proactively removing what they described as fake news on their platforms.
I&B officials criticised the companies and said their inaction on fake news was forcing the Indian government’s hand to order controversial content takedowns.
However, the move to permit content takedowns has led some to believe the Indian government is headed down a path of unjust censorship-related policies and practices.
Unsurprisingly, a transparency report published by Twitter in July 2021 showed that India topped the list of government content removal requests.
While Routers sources said officials didn’t issue an ultimatum, the Government made clear it wants companies to do more on content moderation.
India isn’t alone in searching for ways to wrangle big tech companies into line, B&T previously reported Australia’s own efforts to quash disinformation.
Though, Australia’s Government didn’t invoke “emergency powers” to block multiple channels on Google, Twitter and Facebook accounts.
India’s Government argued that its use of “emergency powers” was to prevent the spread and promotion of “fake news” or “anti-India content.”
But digital rights advocates are firmly against such moves, believing such government orders to curb free speech and set a damaging precedent.
To Reuters, executive director at Internet Freedom Foundation, Apar Gupta, said, “Detailed takedown orders are not made public by the government.
The basis for the action wasn’t explained which “allowed authorities to censor content even if it does not violate public order or the security of the state,” he concluded.