New Delhi: Twitter Inc. has reached out to the Union IT Minister for a formal dialogue, the US social media giant said, adding that the "safety of our employees is a top priority". The second reaction in less than 24 hours comes after the government asked it to remove over a thousand more accounts for allegedly spreading misinformation and provocative content in connection with the farmers' protest.
"Safety of our employees is a top priority for us on Twitter. We continue to be engaged with the Government of India from a position of respect and have reached out to the Honourable Minister, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology for a formal dialogue," a Twitter spokesperson said.
The social media platform also said it has acknowledged getting the non-compliance notice from the government. The government had asked Twitter to take down 1,178 listed handles that have Pakistani and Khalistani users, official sources said. They had also said the social media platform is yet to completely comply with the order.
"We strongly believe that the open and free exchange of information has a positive global impact, and that the Tweets must continue to flow," a company spokesperson said in the latest statement.
The company it takes the appropriate steps regarding such reports while making sure holds firm to its "fundamental values and commitment to protecting the public conversation".
Earlier, on January 31, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had sent a list of 257 handles and tweets to be blocked for similar reasons. Twitter blocked these accounts for a few hours before unilaterally unblocking them shortly after.
On February 4, the ministry shared the fresh list flagged by security agencies as accounts of Khalistan sympathisers or backed by Pakistan and operating from foreign territories, threatening public order amid the farmers' protest.
"Many of these accounts were also automated bots that were used for sharing and amplifying misinformation and provocative contents on farmers' protests," a source said.
A few days ago, Twitter global CEO Jack Dorsey had "liked" several tweets made by foreign-based celebrities in support of farmer protests, sources said. In view of this, the platform's defiance of the government's order to block the accounts raises several questions.
India is the third largest market for Twitter, after the United States and Japan. The platform has millions of users in the country, including leading actors, sports personalities, government officials and top politicians.