Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Twitter users in the city, who have a substantial number of followers on the micro-blogging platform, are hopeful that the Twitter versus Government dispute will be sorted out soon. They, however, say that their country comes first for them and if Twitter quits or is asked to quit India, they will shift to other platforms.
Twitter Inc and the Government of India are locked in a dispute over multiple issues. The government has issued a final warning to Twitter to comply with its rules for social media platforms. The three-month deadline for complying with the rules expired on May 26.
Free Press spoke to Twitterati in the city to know their take on dispute and how will it impact them. Excerpts :
Vinay, businessman, (237.4K followers)
“If you want to do business in a country you have to follow the rules of that country. Facebook and other social media platforms have agreed to new IT rules. Twitter, too, must abide by them. In fact, Twitter has fewer users compared to Facebook, YouTube, Instagram etc. It has been asked to have a chief compliance officer, which doesn't seem to be an undoable task. Twitter is a platform, which is used for accessing news and not for entertainment. Many people like me go to Twitter for news and if Twitter bids goodbye to India, it would clearly impact our lives.
But an influencer can grow on other platforms as well. Earlier, the government had banned TikTok, which was a source of earning for many. The Government of India must take decisions that are beneficial for the majority. At the same time, Twitter should also think of India as a growing market and it should follow Indian rules. I believe no one is above the law of the land and giving Twitter a free hand will have serious repercussions, far more serious than a few people losing a platform to express their thoughts.”
Prayag Tiwari, entrepreneur (23.4K followers)
“I don’t think Twitter will shut shop in India. It is not a Chinese company. It is an American giant. India cannot dare show the door to an American mega corporation. I think ultimately the government and Twitter will reach a compromise. Twitter is not only a platform for airing your views. For a large number of Indians, it is also a source of income. I will lose Rs 1 lakh a month if Twitter ceases operations in India. I hope it won’t happen.”
Ratnesh Tripathi, mountaineer (7.5K followers)
“Both as an athlete and as an influencer, Twitter is very important for me. The Twitter versus Government of India battle is about perceptions. Twitter thinks that if it follows the orders of the government, it would compromise the privacy and the freedom of expression of its users. The government feels that the platform is being used for propaganda against India or its people.
Both are big entities and I hope they will be able to work out a solution. But, if you ask me which of the two I will go with, my straight answer would be the government. Even if I had a million followers on Twitter or even if I was earning a million rupees a month through it, I would not side with foreign corporation when the other party is the government of my country.”
Sushant Kaushal, political analyst, (5K followers)
“Yes, I am used to Twitter. But if it is banned, I would switch to some other app. It would take some time for me to adjust to it. I would be happy if an Indian app replaces Twitter. But the problem is that Twitter has a global presence while the Indian app would take years to become international.
It is said that Twitter influenced the last US Presidential elections. In future, it may influence Indian elections, too. But it is true that Twitter and other social media platforms do allow the common man to express their opinions freely and reach out to millions of people.”