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Twitter restricts 50 tweets showing Muslim man in Ghaziabad being assaulted following law enforcement demand

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Twitter has restricted fifty tweets featuring video and images from a viral clip of a Muslim man in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh being assaulted, according to a recent filing with the Lumen Database by the social media platform. The tweets are withheld for users in India.

Ghaziabad Police had claimed that this assault was being painted in a communal light when it was related to a personal dispute, and that the people assaulting the man included Hindus as well as Muslims. According to the filing, Twitter received the request on June 17; it was disclosed on Monday.

Twitter India Managing Director Manish Maheshwari had been summoned last week for questioning by Uttar Pradesh police after the video went viral on the platform, following an FIR filed against the company for the issue.

Twitter did not offer up any specifics in response to a request for comment, and provided its usual statement in relation to takedowns:

“As explained in our Country Withheld Policy, it may be necessary to withhold access to certain content in response to a valid legal demand or when the content has been found to violate local law(s). The withholdings are limited to the specific jurisdiction/country where the content is determined to be illegal. We notify the account holder directly so they’re aware that we’ve received a legal order pertaining to the account by sending a message to the email address associated with the account(s), if available. Read more about our Legal request FAQs.  The legal requests that we receive are detailed in the biannual Twitter Transparency Report, and requests to withhold content are published on Lumen.” — Twitter Spokesperson

IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has claimed that the virality of the clip in question was hypocritical behaviour on the company’s part: “What happened in UP was illustrative of Twitter’s arbitrariness in fighting fake news. While Twitter has been over-enthusiastic about its fact checking mechanism, it’s failure to act in multiple cases like UP is perplexing & indicates its inconsistency in fighting misinformation,” Prasad said in a Twitter thread on Friday, also calling into doubt whether Twitter still had intermediary liability under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

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Twitter said after that thread was posted that it was still working on implementing the Rules’ requirements: “We are keeping the MeitY apprised of the progress at every step of the process. Twitter continues to make every effort to comply with the new Guidelines.”

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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