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Madhya Pradesh Police registers case against Twitter India’s Manish Maheshwari over distorted India map

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This is the third case that has been registered against Twitter in a day and the second case concerning the inaccurate map on its website

Madhya Pradesh police have booked a case against Twitter India’s Manish Maheshwari after the social media platform posted an inaccurate depiction of India’s map on their website, confirmed an MP Police official to MediaNama.

The FIR was registered on Tuesday by the Madhya Pradesh State Cyber Cell under relevant sections of the Information Technology Act. MediaNama has reached out to State Cyber Cell SP Gurukaran Singh, and the post will be updated when we receive a response.

“We received a serious complaint against Twitter related to the map of India. People from social and political organisations filed a report with the cyber police. Officials took cognisance and filed an FIR against Twitter India Managing Director Manish Maheshwari (sic),” said MP Home Minister Narottam Mishra to news agency ANI.

Earlier on Tuesday, based on a complaint by Bajrang Dal, Uttar Pradesh Police also named Maheshwari in a first information report (FIR) over the map which showed Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh being outside India.

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The map in question was displayed in the “Tweep Life” section of Twitter’s careers page. Although it appears that the incorrect map has been on Twitter’s website since May (MediaNama verified this by checking the archived version of the site), the issue was brought into the spotlight only yesterday. The map was removed within hours after the company faced public backlash and the government said that it was looking into the matter.

The FIR also names Twitter India’s head of News Partnerships, Amrita Tripathi. Both Maheshwari and Tripathi were booked under Section 505 (2) of the Indian Penal Code (creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) and Section 74 of IT (Amendment) Act 2008, Scroll reported.

Three cases registered against Twitter in a day

Apart from these two cases, another FIR was booked against Twitter on Tuesday. Based on the complaints of the National Commissioner for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on the availability of child pornographic material on Twitter, Delhi Police registered an FIR against the social media company.

In a detailed notice on June 26, the NCPCR summoned Anyesh Roy, the DCP in the Cyber Cell of the Delhi Police, for alleged non-action and said that it had conducted an enquiry into the availability of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on the platform. The commission said that it had forwarded the findings of the enquiry to Delhi Police at the end of May and had requested the Delhi police to —

  • Register an FIR against Twitter Inc and Twitter Communications India Private Limited under Section 11/15/19 of the POCSO Act
  • Cases under Section 199/292 of IPC and any other relevant Sections of the IT Act and IPC
  • Furnish action taken within 7 days

Twitter’s recent clashes with Indian government

IT Minister’s account locked: Last Friday, Twitter locked Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s personal account over violation of copyright laws. The account was unlocked within an hour, but RS Prasad called out Twitter for taking actions that were in violation of the IT Rules. “Twitter’s actions indicate that they are not the harbinger of free speech that they claim to be but are only interested in running their own agenda, with the threat that if you do not tow the line they draw, they will arbitrarily remove you from their platform,” Prasad added.

Ghaziabad case: On June 16, the Uttar Pradesh police lodged an FIR against Twitter and others in connection with tweets on an elderly man who was allegedly assaulted in Ghaziabad. Twitter was named as an accused in the case as it had allegedly failed to delete ‘provocative’ tweets despite clarification regarding the matter by Ghaziabad Police. Later, the Ghaziabad Police sent a legal notice to the Managing Director of Twitter India in connection with the case, asking the official to himself in the Loni Border station within a week. However, the Karnataka High Court on Thursday passed an interim order restraining the Uttar Pradesh Police from initiating any coercive action against Twitter Communications India Private Ltd’s Manish Maheshwari.

Compliance with IT Rules: Twitter is yet to fully comply with IT Rules 2021 that went into effect on May 25. The platform had appointed a resident grievance officer, nodal contact person, and chief compliance officer on an interim basis, but the government pointed out that the grievance officer and nodal contact person nominated by the company were not employees of the platform and the office address submitted by the company was that of a law firm. To make matters worse, Dharmendra Chatur, Twitter’s interim grievance officer quit his position on June 28, forcing the company to reappoint its US-based employee as the grievance officer, which is against the rules. As of now, Twitter remains non-compliant with the IT Rules and its career page has openings for all three roles.

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Standing Committee notice: The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information and Technology asked Twitter to appear before them on June 18 on the subject of safeguarding citizen rights and misuse of social media/news platforms. Twitter reportedly accepted before the committee that it gives priority to its own laid down policies over Indian law in cases of conflict, which led the panel to conclude that the social media company was in violation of the IT Act, 2000. According to a report by Economic Times, the panel questioned Twitter India representatives on June 18 on various issues such as the appointment of a full-time compliance officer, its status as an intermediary, and so on for over 90 minutes. At the end of the meeting, the panel reportedly gave Twitter representatives queries to which the social media company has to provide answers soon.

Manipulated media case: Delhi police served a notice and visited two offices of Twitter in May in connection with an alleged Indian National Congress-created toolkit. Twitter had labelled tweets of BJP politicians including spokesperson Sambit Patra and others on the alleged toolkit prepared by Congress as “manipulated media.” The tweets alleged that Congress had created this toolkit to defame the Prime Minister and “undermine” the government’s Covid-19 vaccination policy. Soon after, Delhi Police sent a notice to Twitter seeking clarification on the usage of the term “manipulated media” since the matter was under investigation.

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