Police are visiting Twitter offices to notify the country’s managing director after the social media giant labeled the BJP spokesman’s message as “manipulated media”.
Police in the Indian capital have notified Twitter offices for information on the allegation of why a tweet from the ruling Hindu nationalist party spokesman was labeled as “manipulated media”.
Last week, leaders of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) shared portions of a document on Twitter that said it was created by the main opposition Congress and highlighted the government’s failures in the COVID-19 pandemic management.
Congress complained on Twitter that the document was fake, after which the U.S. company branded some of the posts, including one by BJP spokesman Sambit Patra, as “manipulated media.”
On Monday afternoon, New Delhi police said they had received a complaint about the classification of Patra’s tweet, which he was investigating, and added that a team of officials visited a Twitter office to notify the investigation.
“This was necessary as we wanted to determine who was the right person to send a notice (a) as Twitter India MD’s responses have been very ambiguous,” a police statement said in reference to the company’s managing director.
Twitter says it applies its label of “manipulated media” to posts “that include media (videos, audio, and images) that have been deceptively altered or fabricated.”
AltNews, a leading fact-checking organization, said it had analyzed the documents and claimed some were created with a fake header.
Twitter declined to comment.
The truth is not afraid.
The truth is not afraid.#Toolkit
– Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 25, 2021
Tensions between the Modi government and the social media giant have been brewing for months, and Twitter earlier this year reversed the blocking of several critical accounts with New Delhi’s new agriculture laws after at the request of the authorities.
An Indian climate activist was arrested in February after allegedly helping create a guide to farmers’ protests against the laws that was tweeted by environmentalist Greta Thunberg.
The government also ordered last month on Twitter and Facebook to withdraw dozens of posts criticizing Modi’s management of the coronavirus crisis.
Modi and the BJP have been criticized for their slow response to a new wave of COVID-19 infections that has pushed India’s healthcare system to a standstill, sparking criticism of the Modi administration’s approach to curb the pandemic.
The BJP has responded through its social media army, blaming state and other governments for ignoring what it says were Modi’s repeated warnings of a second wave.
India has recorded a total of 26.75 million COVID-19 infections, according to the United States alone, with more than 300,000 dead, but experts warn that the actual toll could be much higher.