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Delhi Police sends notice to Twitter over ‘manipulated media’ label: Report

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Hours after Twitter tagged tweets as ‘manipulated media’, the Delhi Police sent a notice to the social media platform asking it to share information that it had in this regard, news agency ANI reported. The tweets alleged that the Indian National Congress had created a toolkit to defame the Prime Minister and undermine the government’s COVID-19 vaccination policy.

ANI quoting unnamed officials in Delhi Police also said that they seeking clarification from Twitter on the classification of a tweet by BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra as manipulative. “It appears that Twitter has some information that is not known to us on basis of which they’ve classified it as such,” ANI said in a tweet.

Times of India journalist Rohan Dua on Twitter shared a copy of, what he claims to be the notice that the office of Deputy Commissioner of Police of the Special Cell of Delhi Police sent to Manish Maheshwari, managing director of Twitter India. MediaNama was not able to verify the authenticity of the notice at the time of publication.

The document shared by him read, “Whereas during the course of the investigation it has come to our knowledge that you are acquainted with the facts of the matter and are in possession of information with regard to the same,” it said. In simpler words, Delhi Police wants to know the basis on which Twitter decided to add the ‘manipulated media’ tag to specific tweets.

The Delhi police also asked the Maheshwari to appear before the Delhi Police Special Cell for investigation purposes with all relevant documents on May 22, according to the notice shared by ToI journalist Rohan Dua.

Earlier on May 21, Twitter labelled tweets of Bharatiya Janata Party politicians including spokesperson Sambit Patra and others on the alleged toolkit prepared by Congress as “manipulated media”. The other BJP politicians include Priti Gandhi, Sunil Deodhar, Vinay Sahasrabudhhe, Kuljeet Singh Chahal. A tweet of columnist Shefali Vaidya was also tagged the same.

Later the same day, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) wrote a letter to the global team of Twitter asking the social media platform to remove the tag as the matter was under investigation, according to an ANI report. The Central government said that Twitter’s labelling of tweets on subjects, that were pending investigation, diluted its credibility.

In the last few days, the BJP has alleged that Congress has created a toolkit whose contents aim to “corner the Modi government and various BJP governments in the country” through social media and on-ground strategies. BJP leaders, including Patra, osted numerous tweets criticising Congress over the toolkit.

Earlier, Congress wrote to Twitter asking it to permanently suspend the accounts of BJP politicians including party chief JP Nadda and Union minister Smriti Irani for allegedly spreading “forged documents” to target Congress. Chhattisgarh police registered an FIR to probe the matter, a PTI report said.

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Update May 24, 5.58 pm: Updated the story with necessary attributions

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Among other subjects, I cover the increasing usage of emerging technologies, especially for surveillance in India

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