Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey
File Photo

Amid tension with the Centre, Twitter has reached out to the central government for a formal dialogue, adding that the "safety of our employees is a top priority."

This comes as the Indian government has sent a fresh notice to Twitter in less than 10 days, directing it to block 1,178 more accounts believed to be linked to Khalistan sympathisers, and those backed by Pakistan as well.

Twitter Inc. has now reached out to Union IT Minister for dialogue to discuss the issue.

"Safety of our employees is a top priority for us at 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 was quoted as saying by NDTV.

The platform also acknowledged the non-compliance notice from the government. It is yet to completely comply with the latest order to take down 1,178 listed handles of alleged Pakistani and Khalistani users.

"We strongly believe that the open and free exchange of information has a positive global impact, and that the Tweets must continue to flow," the Twitter statement said.

The company said it takes the appropriate steps regarding such reports while making sure it holds firm to its "fundamental values and commitment to protecting the public conversation."

The fact that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had "liked" several tweets by global celebrities in support of farmer protests has also not gone down well with the government, sources indicated.

Earlier this month, the IT ministry had asked the microblogging platform to block 257 accounts using the #ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide hashtag amid the farmers' protest, under Section 69A of the IT Act.

The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) warned the platform of penal action over non-compliance of its order to remove accounts and tweets alleging "farmer genocide" in the country.

Tweets with the hashtag #ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide were posted on Twitter, which, according to the government, was designed to "inflame passions" and "hatred."

Citing that Twitter unilaterally unblocked accounts and tweets despite the government order, the notice said that Twitter is an intermediary and is obliged to obey the direction of the government, and any refusal to do so will invite penal action.

Top Twitter management in India faces penal action that may include seven-year imprisonment and fine if the company does not comply with the Indian government's order to remove accounts and tweets as per the notice.

The government said the company, as an intermediary under Section 2(1)(w) of the Act, is once again directed to block access by the public to said Twitter handles and hashtag with immediate effect.

"It needs to be mentioned that Section 69A(3) provides for specific penal consequences in case of non-compliance of the directions issued under Section 69A of the Act," the first notice read.

(With inputs from IANS)

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