Twitter’s Public Policy Director for India and South Asia Mahima Kaul will step down citing personal commitments, the company confirmed. The development was first reported by Reuters. Monique Meche, Vice President of Public Policy and Philanthropy at Twitter, said in a statement provided to MediaNama, “At the start of this year, Mahima Kaul decided to step down from her role as Twitter Public Policy Director for India and South Asia to take a well-deserved break. It’s a loss for all of us at Twitter, but after more than five years in the role we respect her desire to focus on the most important people and relationships in her personal life. Mahima will continue in her role till the end of March and will support the transition.”
Kaul’s departure comes amid perhaps the worst phase in Twitter’s relationship with the Indian government thus far; the company refused to censor several accounts on the platform, after briefly doing so. Twitter told the government that it considers tweets posted by the accounts the government wants blocked newsworthy. In response, the government threatened Twitter officials with imprisonment, saying that refusing to comply would be criminal. Twitter said Kaul had decided to leave the company before the incident, and that her departure is not related to the censorship demanded by the government. Indeed, Twitter had posted a job listing for her position 11 days ago.
“Section 69A of the [Information Technology] Act provides jurisdiction to the Central Government in cases wherein it considers it necessary or expedient to direct an intermediary to block for access for public and or cause to be blocked for access by the public any information generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted in any computer resource if the Government is satisfied that the same is necessary or expedient in order to prevent incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to public order,” MEITY said in a notice to Twitter after the company reversed the censorship it was ordered to implement. The ministry subsequently sent Twitter another notice to block over a thousand accounts that it linked to the farmers’ protests underway in the national capital region.
Correction (10:48pm): A previous version of this article misstated who first reported Kaul’s departure from Twitter. The story first broke on Reuters, not the Hindustan Times. We regret the error.
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