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Government says it is open about content takedown orders to expose inaction of platforms, but is it really open?

Previous instances show that it has been curiously selective in being transparent about such requests to platforms.

In a meeting held on January 31, officials from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) strongly criticised Google, Twitter, and Facebook for not doing enough to remove fake news on their platforms, forcing the government to issue content takedown orders, Reuters reported. The government officials urged the platforms to do more on their own to combat misinformation because content takedown orders draw international criticism for suppressing free expression, damaging the public image of the government. When a Google official suggested that government can keep takedown requests confidential to avoid negative publicity, the government officials rejected the suggestion saying that such takedowns publicise how tech companies aren't doing enough to tackle fake news on their own, the report said. India ranks among the top three countries that ask Google to remove the most content, citing defamation, privacy or security, and religious offence as some of the primary reasons. India is also the fourth-largest submitter of requests to Twitter, accounting for 11% of global requests. The government largely relies on the powers under Section 69A of the IT Act to issue content takedown orders and has received widespread criticism for censorship and suppression of free speech. But now, not only does the government appear to defend itself saying it issues such takedown orders only because platforms don't do enough, but it also suggests that the government is open about content takedown requests. Is the government really open about content takedown orders? In a few instances, yes: The government is not under any…

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